The Diocesan Bishop
A R T E M I J E
Biography of H.G. Bishop Dr. Artemije (Radosavljevic):
His Grace Bishop Dr. Artemije
Today, Bishop Artemije is a member of the Standing Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He is very active in pastoral, theological work and translating. In his theological approach he greatly relies on hesychastic monastic tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Holy Fathers as well as the rich local Serbian spiritual tradition of St. Bishop Nikolaj of Zica and Ochrid and St. Justin Popovic.
Bishop Artemije had clearly distanced himself and the Church from the former, repressive Milosevic regime. During the last several years he had no access to regime-controlled media, including Pristina TV and radio. Many times he was attacked from both sides. Extremist Serbs accused him of treason and extremist Albanians called him nationalist. But the position of Bishop Artemije remained consistent - opposition to any violence and condemnation of any crime, no matter from which side it comes. As much as he condemned policy of repression and wartime crimes committed by Milosevic's paramilitaries Bishop has also strongly condemned the crimes of UCK (KLA) against innocent Serb civilians, especially in the post-war period. He also strongly condemned the NATO bombing of Serbia in which many civilians were killed too.
As soon as the war was over the Bishop took upon himself a difficult role of the leadership of his people even in political life. Politics for him has never been an ambition but a necessity in order to save his people from both sides. Bishop Artemije traveled all over the world to present his view of the Kosovo problem. Since he began his trips of peace and truth in 1997 visiting several European capitals he reiterated a strong message that the source of the Kosovo problem is a enduring idea of Kosovo Albanian secessionism which dates back from the 19th century and is based on the idea of homogenization and unification of all Albanian inhabited territories in SE Europe. Their goal of secession from Yugoslavia found a very good excuse in the undemocratic government of Slobodan Milosevic and was immediately presented to the Western world as a legal struggle for human rights and democracy. The true face of the Kosovo Albanian view of democracy was revealed immediately after the war in which civilians on all sides suffered. As soon as the UN Mission came to Kosovo with KFOR peacekeepers Kosovo Albanian extremists launched and organized a campaign of ethnic cleansing and systematic destruction of non-Albanian cultural and religious heritage. Serbian Orthodox churches, many of them dating back to medieval times, were targeted with exceptional vandalism. With the export of Albanian "democratic" revolution to Macedonia in 2001, the warnings conveyed by Bishop Artemije to western leaders several years before became truth and evident for all to see. From all territories occupied by Albanian extremists and mafia, Slav populations were forced to move out. Bishop Artemije has never supported repression as a political method but has always supported peaceful coexistence of different ethnic communities in a democratic society. As much as he could never approve of the violence used by the Milosevic police and army he also strongly opposed turning Kosovo Province into an ethnically clean Albanian province.
Bishop Artemije had many high level meetings on these issues. Aside from almost all European Foreign Ministers, the Bishop had three meetings with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former President Bill Clinton and many other world renowned politicians. During all of these meetings the Bishop made strong appeals to cease the systematic destruction by Kosovo Albanian extremists of the Serb people in Kosovo and their religious and cultural monuments and give freedom to all. In June 2000 Bishop Artemije had a meeting with the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan and other UN officials.
"At the moment Kosovo Albanians are only free in Kosovo, but to be more precise they are free to do what they want and how they want. The freedom for others does not exist except in enclosed enclaves and ghettoes. This is not multi-ethnicity but a simulation of democracy and peace", this has been one of the most often repeated conclusions of Bishop Artemije.
For more information on positions of Bishop Artemije regarding the Kosovo issue you can download a zip-file with 15 MS Word documents (testimonies in US Congress, public letter, statements, interviews) /bishop_texts.zip 500 KB
Bishop Artemije in search for justice for his suffering people