The Soul of Europe has completed an important report – the purpose of which is to see if there is a basis for establishing healthy community relations between the Patriarchate and the people of Pejë/Peć.
We believe this is possible, and the recommendations and reasoning found through extensive experience in the region, surveys with stakeholders and the wider community indicate a way forward.
The Findings & Proposals
We have six Recommendations:
1. A Community Relations Council should be established for strengthening relations between the Municipality and the Patriarchate. This should be the means by which relationships are developed.
2. The Council should be the forum where local problems can be aired such as access to the Patriarchate by the people of Pejë/Peć, anxieties about KFOR and security, and ways whereby the Sisters can meet local people, especially Kosovo Albanian women, in a safe and welcoming environment.
3. The Council should consider holding an Interfaith Conference at the Monastery following a successful Conference in May 2006.
4. The Serbian Orthodox Church needs to recognize how strange the monastic tradition is to many people. There is no parallel tradition of Monasticism in Islam.
Therefore opportunities for explaining the Church’s faith and understanding of monastic traditions would help dispel the ignorance, prejudice and fear among Muslims and those who have only a slight religious affiliation.
One of the advantages of a public relations program is that people will begin to understand the life style of religious communities, a way of life which requires a modest degree of separateness from the world.
5. The Council should create opportunities for debate about contentious issues – for example, the status of Serbian Orthodox Monasteries in Kosovo.
6. The Council should stimulate religious tourism and the idea of Pilgrimage open to all, thereby promoting economic development, and reconciliation. Given the regional and international significance of the Patriarchate, this recommendation is particularly important.
The Soul of Europe recommends this model needs to be established elsewhere in Kosovo.
1. The Soul of Europe will present this Report to the Mayor of Pejë/Peć, Bishop Jovan and Patriarch Irinej.
2. If the Recommendation to establish a Community Relations Council is agreed then questions arise about the authority of the Council, and its membership. In its initial stage the Soul of Europe believes there should be appointed an experienced mediator to help the Council in its early deliberations.
Please read the full report below (in English, Serbian or Albanian).
Soul of EuropeIzvestaj – Vremeza Pomirenje