"This book on Serbia’s Christian Heritage in Kosovo and Metohija, its heartland in medieval times and through Ottoman domination, is intended to introduce to a wide reading public the oldest and richest treasury of Serbian medieval history and culture. Its authors are leading specialists in the fields in which they write, so readers may place complete reliance on the factual accuracy of the material."
"The editor and publisher have the fervent hope that today’s peoples in Kosovo and Metohija will be able to begin their discussions not from what divides them but from what unites them, emphasizing in positive and constructive ways the areas in which a Serbo-Albanian ethnic symbiosis has existed. This book invites all to consider their differences in the light of history and of the future."
I. SPIRITUAL ENDOWMENTS AND AESTHETIC INSIGNIA OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
Visiting the territories of former Rascia and Kosovo, one encounters many visible landmarks that are witnesses to Serbia’s medieval grandeur.
II. THE KOSOVO COVENANT AND SERBIA’S HISTORIC DESTINY
"The Earthly Kingdom is a shortlived, the Heavenly Kingdom is forever and ever." The Kosovo Covenant is the New Testament expressed in the Serbian style and through the Serbian experience.
III. THE BATTLE OF KOSOVO
"Both Tsar Murat and the King of Serbia were killed ; and victory was not granted either to the Turks or the Serbs, so great was the carnage. And the battle took place on the Field of Kossovo."
- Old Ragusan Report
IV. MEMORANDUM ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
The Church of Christ among the Serbian people, which has shared the fate of its people throughout its historical, cultural and spiritual existence, demonstrates itself even today to be the most reliable witness of its trials, which are perhaps more dangerous now than ever.
V. SERBIAN CHRISTIAN CITIES AND HOLY SHRINES OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
Medieval Serbian Princedom, Kingdom and Empire, centered in Kosovo and Metohija, was presented throughout history in all major European maps, including the period of Ottoman rule (1459-1912).
VI. HISTORY, IDENTITY, LEGACY
"Our Obilic, you fiery dragon, the eyes of those who look at you go blind. All brave men will always honor your name!"
- Petar II Petrovic Njegos
VII. SERBIA AFTER THE 1389 BATTLE OF KOSOVO
Canonized by the church, Prince Lazar became the source of hope. As the nun Jefimija embroidered on his shroud: "Don’t forget your beloved children, who need your help, oh martyr!"
VIII. CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS OF THE RENEWED MARTYRDOM
Today Kosovo has become a general term denoting a complex problem in which history is being faced with our reality.
The book presents a cultural history and the heritage of the Serbian Medieval Kingdom ruled by Nemanjić Dynasty, its cultural development over centuries and its patriotic heart, which resided in Rascia (Raška) and Kosovo. The rich Serbian cultural heritage was less known to the world and for a long time was neglected. There were 1300 churches and monasteries built in medieval time, not all of them survived calamitous historic events, but the major and the most beautiful are still a great pride of the Serbian people and their national heritage. In order to preserve the original art and architecture of monasteries and frescos, UNESCO made a decision to list all Kosovo monasteries along with some of the Serbian, as World Heritage monuments. This means that Serbian spiritual and historic values are protected for the generations of people to come as the exceptional tributes of an era, which determined nations identities, when the world was changing hastily to achieve its present form. Serbia was struggling for independence and freedom until the 19th century and the medieval heritage, whether clerical or secular, was light in the darkness and an inspiration for the future generations.
This book is important because it encompasses centuries of Serbian culture, art, literature and its struggle to remain independent and a leading intellectual power in the Balkan and South-East Europe. Kosovo was the centre of Serbian civilization and the major monuments and national heritage are still there as silent witnesses of inevitable changes of power.
Serbia was on the cross roads between East and West and a passageway for the mighty Crusaders and medieval travelers. One of the main political tasks of the rulers was to balance the great powers emerging after the split of the former Roman Empire. During the Nemanjić’s time Serbia was prosperous, even one of the richest countries in the region, and that was reflected through original, extraordinary developments of culture, society, art (frescos, icons) and architecture. New skills also developed at the monasteries: writing and illuminating manuscripts, enhancing literacy among aristocratic population. The most important field of industry was mining (silver and gold mine at Novo Brdo near Gnjilane-Kosovo, Trepča, Srebrenica, Rudnik among others) which was the main source of the Serbian Kingdom wealth.
The recent conflict brought more attention to medieval heritage hidden in Serbia and Kosovo regions, which unfortunately needed more protection from damage and ignorance. This book draws more attention to the protection of the Christian heritage in Kosovo amid growing radical religious threats and possible riots that can hit hard these sites and the Serbian Orthodox community. We strongly believe that the stability of the Serbian community and its holy sites in Kosovo are important factors of the overall stability of Kosovo and the region and are assured that the US administration shares our view on this issue.
The lovely and learned volume, 'The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija' is a wonderful addition to the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, where it will be used and appreciated by many scholars.
- Deb Stewart, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, DC
This book is the best proof that Kosovo is Serbian.
- Metropolitan John of Pergamon (Zizioulas)
'The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija' is a rare and extraordinary achievement.
- Archbishop Demetrios of America (New York)
We are very pleased to have a copy of this high-quality publication, outlining the spiritual and artistic heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It will be added to our reference collection, where I am certain many of our students and faculty will make use of the ready access to it.
- Archimandrite Joachim Cotsonis, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
This is a book that ‘buys you’ at first sight.
- Nikola Selaković (Minister of Justice in the Serbian Government, Belgrade)
This book is our passport to the world.
- Živojin Rakočević (Pristina)
It is indeed a magnificent production, of value equally because of the interesting text and of the fine illustrations. Congratulations are due to all who have collaborated to produce such an impressive volume.
- Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
This book deserves an award on Frankfurt Book Fair.
- Manolis Velitzanidis (“Indiktos", Athens)
The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija is a superb production and will surely establish itself as the definitive record of the churches and monasteries of Kosovo. The contents are highly relevant to my own work on the Athonite diaspora and I can assure you that I shall be putting the book to good use.
- Dr Graham Speake (Chairman, "Friends of Mount Athos")
By this capital work of great significance the Serbian people is presented to the world in the light of its spiritual and cultural creativity and statesmanship in Kosovo and Metohija.
- Prof. Dr Radmila Milentijević (New York)
The best book ever published in Serbia.
- Prof. Dr Dušan T. Bataković (Belgrade)