Present-day persecution of Christians under the pro-jihadi regime in Kosovo resembles that which occurred under Communist rule, both in Yugoslavia and elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc.
Communist Persecution in Russia
Starting from the days of Lenin, the Bolsheviks, and later the Soviet Communists, were enemies of the Orthodox Church and of Christianity in general. Josef Stalin not only killed roughly forty million Orthodox Christians, but also dethroned and persecuted St. Tikhon, the legitimate patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and compromised the Church by installing a usurper. Like Islam, Nazism, and all other totalitarian systems, Soviet Communism tolerated no competition for the hearts and minds of its subjects.
During the Second World War, Stalin temporarily set aside his war against Orthodoxy for reasons of political and military morale. Soldiers were far more willing to fight and sacrifice for Mother Russia and for the Orthodox Church than for Stalin and the Soviet Union. After the war, and under Stalin’s successors, what little remained of the Orthodox Church remained under tight restrictions. Only with the collapse of the Soviet Union did freedom of religion return to Russia and to most of eastern Europe.
Communist Persecution in Serbia
The predicament of Christians in eastern Europe under the Communists was much like that of their contemporaries in the Soviet Union. Even though the Communist dictator of Yugoslavia, Josif Broz Tito, soon broke with the Soviet Bloc, his regime nonetheless continued to expropriate, marginalize, and persecute the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Varnava was born in Gary in 1914 and lived at a home near 12th Avenue and Madison Street, Kazich said.
Varnava, whose secular name was Vojislav Nastic, was the first person baptized at St. Sava when it was located in Gary.
“He grew up in a very spiritual family,” Matic said.
He also served as an altar boy at the church.
“He was at the services every Sunday,” Kazich said.
Varnava went to Froebel Elementary School while he and his family lived in Gary for about nine years. They moved Yugoslavia in 1923, Kazich said.
When he finished the equivalent of high school, Varnava’s father took him to see Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich to receive the bishop’s blessing to study theology.
Varnava was ordained a priest in the early 1940s, and the Serbian Church elected him to become a bishop in 1947, Kazich said.
Varnava began to preach against the Communist way of life after becoming a bishop, and Yugoslavia’s Communist government arrested him on treason charges.
During his trial, Varnava wasn’t allowed to deliver a final defense plea because “it was feared that he would expose and reveal the government’s criminal, terroristic and tyrannical policies,” according to a report written by Kazich.
In 1948, Varnava was sentenced to 11 years at one of the worst prisons at the time in Yugoslavia, Kazich said.
He spent about three years there, and the government intended to kill him when he was being transferred to another prison, Kazich said. He was placed on a train car with other prisoners, and the government ran another train into the car, he said.
Varnava survived the crash, but his legs were broken.
“And he suffered from that for the rest of his life,” Kazich said.
Due to health problems, Varnava was released from prison in 1951, but he always was under guard by the Communist government until he died in 1964.
Kazich said Varnava died under suspicious circumstances, and many believe he was poisoned. He said an autopsy couldn’t be conducted at the time.
Kazich said Varnava’s family knew he didn’t have a history of illness. He also wrote letters to them about his good health prior to his death.
No matter the circumstances, Varnava always remained “a follower of Christ,” Matic said.
“He became one of the strongest protectors of his faith,” he said.
Matic said Varnava remains an inspiration to many at the church.
“People still talk about him,” Matic said.
St. Varnava was canonized about five years ago…
Pro-Jihadi Persecution in Serbia and Kosovo
Under the US/NATO/EU-backed occupation of Kosovo, the persecution of Christians, the destruction of Orthodox churches and cemeteries, and the interference with the Orthodox Church hierarchy has happened all over again. The persecution is far worse this time around, and it is being perpetrated on behalf of Muslim, rather than communist, totalitarianism. The US-backed regime in Kosovo is nothing more than an Islamic narcoterrorist gang elevated to political office. Nonetheless, the US/NATO/EU occupation is determined to appease the Kosovo regime by helping it to annihilate Orthodox Christianity in Kosovo and to obliterate all trace of its existence.
The Orthodox Church continues to suffer not only in Kosovo itself, but also in all of Serbia. The US constantly puts pressure on the Serbian government and on the Serbian church hierarchy to accept the illegitimate “independence” of Kosovo and to abandon the beleaguered and persecuted remnants of the Christian Serb population in Kosovo. One of the more recent abuses is the persecution of Bishop Artemije and his removal from the eparchy of Ras and Prizren in occupied Kosovo.
Why is this happening now? Very likely because, in June 2008, Bishop Artemije demanded accountability for the slaughter of Serbs and for the harvesting of organs from living Serb Christians, and because now, in 2010, the organ theft scandal has finally reached the newspapers. Bishop Artemije is an embarrassment to the purveyors of “humanitarian war” on behalf of jihadi narcoterrorism, and he must be discredited and silenced.
Statement by James George Jatras, Director, American Council for Kosovo, regarding Vladika Artemije’s interview of December 3, 2010
Source: American Council for Kosovo
By James George Jatras
Saturday, 4 December 2010
I now have had an opportunity briefly to review Vladika Artemije’s thoughts as expressed in his interview made public earlier today (see below, in Serbian). Reserving room for any misunderstanding on my part due to the fact that I am working from an imprecise auto-translation from the Serbian, the following should be noted:
- First, that if those who are responsible for the uncanonical, lawless, and inhumane effort to remove Vladika Artemije from the Eparchy of Ras and Prizren were under the impression he has been silenced and will go away quietly, such persons – and the interests they serve – are quite mistaken. True to the example of his heavenly patron and protector, Saint Artemios, Vladika Artemije remains a fighter in every sense of the word.
- Second, there can be no mistake that the treatment meted out to Vladika Artemije has anything to do with any “irregularities” or “accusations of corruption,” or other slanders circulated in the “yellow” media in Serbia. If it were, he asks, where is the proof? He points out: Here, after 10 months, no evidence is anywhere to be shown! Even Belgrade’s requested extradition of Father Simeon Vilovski from Greece was turned down but the Areopagus. Why? Vladika Artemije asks. Because they have no evidence. So the best they can do is to repeat unsupported slanders against Vladika Artemije (and also, incidentally, against me, although my work on behalf of Vladika Artemije and the Serbian National Council starting in March 2006 was a matter of public record from the first day.)
- Third, the real reasons for the vendetta against Vladika Artemije are patently obvious, which he describes in detail today: his refusal to cooperate any further with the foreign occupation in Kosovo and Metohija after the pogrom of March 2004; his lawsuit in Strasbourg against Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom for the damage done to his flock; his objections to the unauthorized trespass into the Decani monastery by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden; his refusal to allow supposed repairs to churches and monasteries in Kosovo to be done in substandard manner by Albanian Muslims, i.e., the people who attacked them in the first place; his opposition to the current government in Belgrade’s rejecting help from fraternal Orthodox Russia in favor of the godless and anti-Serbian agenda of Brussels and Washington; his defense of Orthodoxy and the Serbian Orthodox Church against the pan-heresy of ecumenism; and his total rejection of the policy of Belgrade and the current government, which has tacitly accepted the so-called Ahtisaari plan, allowed EULEX to come to Kosovo, and thus helped create the so-called independent “state” of Kosovo.
That is why, as the tireless Julia Gorin reported, at a regional security meeting in Pec – already in January 2010 – “a KFOR officer informed the grouping that it was likely that Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren would be replaced and a new Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church would be installed in his place, one who was open to cooperation with the West and more open to dialogue.”
That is also why, when Vladika Artemije physically returned to his diocese two weeks ago, he was quickly removed by the joint “authority” of the NATO occupation, the current regime in Belgrade, and the KLA mafia in Pristina – and of course their collaborators inside the Serbian Orthodox Church.
- Fourth, Vladika Artemije categorically rejects any possibility of schism in the Serbian Orthodox Church and demands, simply and without qualification, that the canons of the Church be followed. Stating his unwillingness to abide by any uncanonical directives, he remains until the end of his life the Bishop of the Eparchy of Ras and Prizren.
The fact is, those responsible in Belgrade, Brussels, and Washington will not rest until their work of destruction is done and Kosovo and Metohija, along with Bosnia, is re-Islamized. To do that, the Serbian nation and the Serbian Orthodox Church must be crushed and demoralized. And for that to happen, Vladika Artemije must be defamed and destroyed. It’s just that simple.
Text of interview here.