GOARCH - April 6, 1999

Archbishop Spyridon Issues Statement on Hostilities in Kosovo,
Calls for Release of American Servicemen

His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America has issued the following statement today on the continuing hostilities in Yugoslavia:

The continuing loss of life and the human tragedy that is unfolding in Kosovo should give every human person even greater will to pray for peace. As we are now in the midst of the Orthodox Christian Holy Week, and approaching the great events of our salvation in Christ, I urge all world leaders to give pause to the violence of war, during the Three Days when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who arose from the dead on the Third Day.

I urge President Clinton and the leaders of NATO to allow for a peaceful celebration of the Orthodox Christian Pascha, from Holy Friday (April 9) through Bright Monday (April 12). I also call upon President Milosevic to observe this same period of time with a complete cessation of military and paramilitary activity, in order to allow for a resumption of peaceful settlement negotiations. Furthermore, as a sign of good faith, I urge President Milosevic to immediately set free and unharmed the three American Servicemen who were captured by the Serbian Military. Such a gesture can only serve to allow for a re-opening of the lines of communication and negotiation.

The bloodletting and violence must come to an end. Let us allow this time, when we celebrate the victory over death by the Prince of Peace, to be a time when we too may be victorious over the forces of death. Let the bombing over Yugoslavia cease, and let the violence on all sides in the land of Yugoslavia cease. Let us heed the word of the Lord and let us reason together as members of the one human family. The love of the Risen Christ compels us to nothing less. May He grant unto all the moral and spiritual strength to do so in the light of His Holy Resurrection.

   April 6, 1999 ]