Serbia: Kosovo leaders eye Orthodox Serb patriach's investiture ceremony

Belgrade, 22 Sept. (AKI) - Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu and prime minister Hasim Thaci have asked to attend the enthronement of patriarch Irinej in the Monastery of Pec patriarchate on 3 October.

The complex of the Pec churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs and a symbol of Serb nationalistic identity, and the Kosov leadership's request puts the Serbian Orthodox Church in an awkward position.

Irinej, spiritual leader of some ten million Serbs world-wide, was elected in April, but will be officially enthroned in a medieval seat of the church in Pec, in western Kosovo.

Kosovo majority Albanians seceded from Serbia two years ago, a move that has been recognised by seventy countries, including the United States and 22 members of the European Union.

Most Serbs remained opposed to Kosovo's independence.

President Boris Tadic and other high Serbian officials are expected to attend the enthroning ceremony. Tadic’s first wife, Veselinka Zastavnikovic, has become a nun after their divorce ten years ago and is serving in Pec nunnery.

Kosovo and Serbian media reported on Thursday that Sejdiu and Thaci had asked to attend the ceremony to demonstrate a good will towards minority Serbs majority of who oppose Kosovo independence.

But Bishop Amfilohije, in charge of Kosovo diocese, said the church's Holy Synod governing body hasn’t considered the possibility of Sejdiu and Thaci attending, because it was a purely religious ceremony.


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