Blic (BG) Easter celebration in captivity in the monastery of Devic
> Blic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
> Tuesday 17 April 2001
> "Blic" with Serbs and Russian soldiers in the monastery of Devic in Kosovo
> on Easter, completely surrounded by Albanians
> Easter celebration in captivity
> With a small group of Serbs from Kosovska Mitrovica whom members of French
> KFOR provided with armored transporters, we arrived in the only monastery in
> Drenica in central Kosovo to spend the Easter holiday. After traveling 30
> kilometers south of the divided city on the Ibar River by a badly asphalted
> road full of potholes, we arrived at the monastery of Devic. On this
> occasion members of the Russian KFOR contingent increased security in a
> larger area around the monastery. At the entrance to the monastery itself, a
> Russian soldier in full battle gear and winter uniform kept an alert watch
> over the surroundings. He greeted us with a smile and in good Serbian:
> The eight nuns were happy because of the arrival of the Serb group. Since
> 1997, Serbs have only been able to come to Devic accompanied by a police
> escort; today they are only able to come with an armed KFOR escort. We
> settled in the large residence halls of the sole remaining monastery in
> Drenica. The Russian troops were nearby. Jasmina Nedeljkovic, a young mother
> who brought her two month-old daughter Danijela by armored transporter to be
> christened here, received a separate room intended for mothers with
> children. She also had the special attention of the French troops and all
> the other Serbs who came from Mitrovica.
> After a short rest, dinner and a nap, we attended the Easter evening
> liturgy. In the church there were also more than 20 Russian soldiers. We
> were impressed by their singing and recital by heart of the liturgy of Jovan
> Zlatousti. After liturgy everyone received an Easter egg.
> As we were leaving the church, the oldest nun, Sister Andjelija, said "The
> great snows do not bode well." She did not say why.
> "For five years already we have been living in captivity. The faithful come
> to see us by armored transporter and under armed KFOR escort. Today we have
> christened a child here to whom I am the godmother. Here we have christened
> more than 20 of the Russian soldiers who protect us. But we celebrate all
> holidays in captivity because when people are not at liberty to come here
> when they wish, there is no freedom. I believe that God will grant that we
> may soon be free," says the prioress of Devic, Mother Anastazija.
> A year ago Father Serafim of the monastery of Zociste near Orahovac came
> here to help the nuns.
> "We do not have freedom of movement but many Serbs from all parts of the
> country and the world are trying to help us. You see, one group of Serbs
> from the U.S. gave us an electrical generator so we no longer have power
> interruptions and fears that the Albanians from the area will cut our
> electrical cables. Presently there are no attacks but the Albanians are
> coming nearer to the shrine. A few days ago two Albanians came to the
> monastery spring; when the Russian troops asked them what they were doing
> there, they responded that they were 'walking in the woods' and just came
> upon the spring," says Father Serafim.
> Mladen Stosic (75) from Kijevo near Klina also came with the group of Serbs
> from Mitrovica.
> "I lived for a year in Serbia but I couldn't stay there any longer so I
> checked into the collective refugee center in Mitrovica. I came to Devic to
> remember how I met my future wife on this very spot 50 years ago. We would
> walk to Devic from Kijevo in four or five hours. I cannot imagine Serbs
> coming to the monastery in these steel monstrosities," says Stosic. The
> youngest visitor to Devic, two month-old Danijela, was the center of
> attention. Her christening was even attended by a couple of the Russian
> "I wanted to christen the child here because this is where my husband
> Boban's entire family was christened. We didn't want to break that
> tradition," says Jasmina Nedeljkovic, the baby's mother.
> Easter dinner on Sunday afternoon was attended by the Serb guests and the
> Russian troops alike but also by the Frenchmen who came back the next day
> with transporters to return the Serbs to the north of Kosovo. The roast
> suckling pig, strong plum brandy and stuffed cabbages were favorites among
> the guests.
> Z. V. Vlaskalic
> Translated by S. Lazovic (April 17, 2001)
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/