Benefit Concert for Kosovo Refugees
A benefit concert was held on March 21 at the Antiochian Orthodox Church of
SS Peter and Paul in Potomac, MD (near Washington, DC), to benefit refugees
from Kosovo. The concert was organized to help orphaned Serbian children.
The concert had been planned long before, but recent events lent more
meaning to the event.The benefit was organized at the initiative of the
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, DC. The
concert was attended by the heir to the throne of Serbia and Montenegro,
Prince Alexander II, and his wife, Princess Katherine, who head the
philanthropic society "Lifeline," which helps Serbian orphans. Their Royal
Highnesses dedicated the concert to the recent victims of Kosovo. In his
speech, Prince Alexander accused those who inflamed international conflict.
"For us it is exceedingly important to counterbalance the mobs of
hooligans, be they Serbs or Albanians. I blame all who destroy churches and
houses of prayer."
During the presentation of Princess Katherine, who told of the horrors
occurring in Kosovo, and of the fate of the children who end up in
orphanages, many of those who were present were brought to tears.
"We live in a world which has resources for war," said Princess Katherine,
"but none for peace." There are strategies for war, but no plans for peace.
Until we invest our efforts in peace, it will not exist." Her Royal
Highness went on to say: "Russia and Serbia were always close. Both
countries endured great sufferings. But, rising to their feet, both Russia
and Serbia must become an example for the whole world."
Protopriest Victor Potapov, greeting Prince Alexander, Princess Katherine
and the audience of clergy and laity, spoke of the close relationship
between Serbia and Russia and of the hospitality shown to Russian refugees
by King Alexander and the Serbian Orthodox Church, thanks to which the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia could live and develop freely.
Fr. Victor recalled the pilgrimage his parish made last October to Serbia,
and the visit with the Prince and Princess at their palace in Belgrade.
The choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, under the direction of
Yu.A. Pecherkin, performed works by Chesnokov, Ledkovsky, Sviridov, Taneeff
and other composers. Also, Toshiko Kono, one of the ten finest floutists in
the world, performed a series of Western classical music.
Toshiko, or Vera, as the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Cathedral
know her, performed with her mother, the pianist Sumiko Sophia Kono, and
violinist Dionisia Wilkinson. A song by Tchaikovsky was sung by the famous
Washington bass, Vladimir Ekzarkhov. A dramatic element was added to the
concert by the participation of Serbian scholar Branislav Djordjevic, who
spent many months in an American immigration prison because of the
carelessness of his attorney. All the performers are parishioners of St.
John the Baptist Cathedral.
After the concert, a short moleben was served for the return of peace to
The evening concluded with a small reception organized by the sisterhood of
the local Serbian Orthodox church of St. Luke. Over $13,000 was raised for
the Serbian refugees.