This video is one of many: Albanian “moderate” Muslims destroying a Serbian church in Kosovo. How much more of a crime against humanity is it for a Church, where the Sacred Body of Christ resides, to be destroyed compared to a secular state’s embassy? I support neither act of lawlessness, of course, but the West’s silence about the abuse of our Christian brothers in Serbia is a daily declaration that our government feels nothing for our fellow Christians and that we are willing to throw the Serbs to the wolves in order to appease unappeasable Muslims nipping at Europe’s frontiers. Where are the Evangelicals who plead the case of Israel so eloquently? Where are all the advocates of a “real war” against Islamic terrorism?
One thing apparent in the Metropolitan of Montenegro’s stirring sermon on Kosovo is something that Catholics and other Western Christians have forgotten: we do not believe in an ethereal, abstract Christianity that is sealed off from worldly concerns. God is “immanent” in the world and not just in the mental lives of human beings. Places, things, objects, bodies, and other parts of the world are God’s creation, serve a purpose, and are worthy of respect. Any of these things can become holy and a worthy objection of veneration. In other words, the spiritual and the physical are not seperated. This is apparent most dramatically in the person of Jesus Christ, the Incarnation. But it also inheres in our respect for churches, our respect for the Blessed Sacrament, our use of sacramentals and bread and wine in our worship, and in our concept of relics and Christian Burial. Because the created world and human institutions exist to serve divine purposes, our political and moral life must be informed by our Christian religious beliefs.
Kosovo and Metohija are a land of martyrs. It is the place where the Serbs took a stand against the expanding Ottoman Empire in 1389. As the Metropolitan says, “When we say this here, before the face of the living God and before the face of St Sava, our spiritual father, in whom our soul encountered and committed itself to the Lord God and God’s eternal justice, then that means that for us Kosovo and Metohija are not the geography of a territory, but the topography of our life, purpose and commitment.” To ask Serbians to give this up is to declare ourselves anti-Christians, who, like the Manichaeans of old, have no understanding that this world matters, and that the earth itself can be infused with memory and meaning (and grace too) through the blood of martyrs.