On the 28 June according to the new, i.e. 15 June according to the old calendar, the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates the holiday of St martyr Prince Lazar and all Serbian martyrs, but also St Vitus or the prophet Amos of the Old Testament. The feature by Liljana Sindjelic Nikolic.
Among the people today’s holiday is called simply Vidovdan (St Vitus day), and it carries a slot of symbolic value, but also unusual for those who so not look at life through the prism of God’s will. Today we remember to Serbian prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, who holds a special place in the history and in Christianity. He was born in Prilepac, near Novo Brdo, probably in 1329. Lazar was a wise ruler, faithful to tradition and relying on his Orthodox Church. He was frequently waging war against the Turks, as the Ottoman Empire was extending toward Europe.
The decisive battle against the increasingly strong conquerors took place in Kosovo. The famous Battle of Kosovo happened on 28 June 1389, and before the fight Prince Lazar prayed with his army and took communion in the church. Today, his words are still famous: “Earthly realm is short lived, and the heavenly one forever”. In the Battle of Kosovo, both Prince Lazar and the Ottoman sultan Murad died. The Serbian army was defeated in battle, but this day is celebrated as a holiday.
For some people this is contradictory and senseless, celebrating the demise and defeat as one of the greatest holidays. According to Christian values, all those who got killed that day in Kosovo became holy martyrs, because they died in honor, defending their fatherland, their homes, their families, faith and culture. Prince Lazar and all his killed soldiers were sanctified and on this day they are mentioned in prayers in all temples of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The body of Prine Lazar was transferred to his endowment, monastery of Ravanica, but later, as the Turks were spreading further, the people were retreating and carrying the holy remains. They were then transferred to the Vrdnik monastery on the Fruska Gora mountain, but during WWII to the Belgrade Cathedral. In 1954, the Church decided to take the remains back to Ravanica. They are there to this day, and a special celebration is organized on the day of Vidovdan every year. Many Serbs like to attend the liturgy in the churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija.
And today, so many years after the Battle of Kosovo, the Serbian people are still fighting for their survival in Kosovo and Metohija. Just like the historic battle was lost at that moment, but the Serbs and their sanctities remaining, today there is also the faith and hope that Christina churches will witness the faith and love in many generations that are yet to come, that Serbs will persevere in Kosovo and live in peace and harmony with their neighbors, whatever religion of nationality they may be from.