Thousands of Serb pilgrims gathered in a medieval monastery in western Kosovo today (October 3, 2010) amid tight security to attend the enthronement ceremony of the new Serbian Patriarch Irinej. No incidents were reported.
The ceremony in the Pec Patriarchate -- the spiritual seat of Serbian clergy -- took place just outside the ethnic Albanian-dominated town of Pec. Serbia's President, Boris Tadic, attended the ceremony, according to the Belgrade Post website.
Today, Serb faithful scrambled for space in the complex of churches that Serbs consider the seat of the medieval Serbian state and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Some were draped in the Serbian flag waiting to get a glimpse of their spiritual leader.
Irinej told the faithful after the ceremony, "From this holy place we plead the powerful actors of the world not to burden their souls with sin by finding a solution for this southern Serbian province that will deprive the Serbian nation of its heritage, prosperity, graves of ancestors and its sacred sites."
Kosovo was a province in Serbia from which it seceded in 2008, and declared itself an independent nation.