From: The office of Metropolitan Archbishop PAVLOS of
the Old Calendar Greek
Orthodox Church of North and South America.
Member of the Holy Synod of the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of
under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop CHRYSOSTOMOS
II of Athens and
To: President William Jefferson Clinton
February 22nd, 1999
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing you as one of your constituents and the spiritual
leader of the Old Calendar Greek Orthodox Church of America to
express my great dismay at the planned NATO military action against
the Republic of Yugoslavia. The United States is leading this
planned military action and it will be American military forces
that will constitute the largest bulk of the strike force.
As an American citizen I am appalled at this planned attack
and I am very much against it. As a human being I am outraged
and offended, and as a Christian I am deeply saddened.
My father and his two brothers fought proudly for America
against the fascists in World War Two. My father, Staff Sergeant
Peter Stratigeas (serial number 32714219), landed at Omaha Beach
in June 1944 with the U.S. Third Army under General Omar Bradley.
For this his country awarded him the Bronze Star. His two brothers
fought the Japanese Empire in the Pacific. Though they remain
proud to be Greek-Americans they are now appalled at the planned
NATO strike against Yugoslavia.
There is no benefit that the United States can gain from
striking at Yugoslavia. There is certainly no justice if this
operation is carried out; a strike against Yugoslavia at this
time would be a miscarriage of justice. In fact, the planned NATO
strike is a crime waiting to be committed, a crime against humanity.
Kosovo has been a part of Serbia since there was a Serbia.
Almost 1,000 years ago it was the Roman Emperor of Constantinople,
Constantine Porphyrogenitos, who established the Serbian Kingdom
in Kosovo. The faith, culture and civilization of Serbia are based
on the Greek civilization of Constantinople. Constantinople is
the foundation and basic model of all Christian nations. You must
understand that Kosovo is not only dear to Serbians but she is
dear to all Orthodox Christians in particular Greek Orthodox Christians.
Kosovo is the heart and soul of Serbian Orthodox Christian civilization.
The most ancient and revered religious and cultural monuments
of that civilization are to be found throughout Kosovo.
The fact that the population of Kosovo is constituted by
a majority of non-Serbians is irrelevant. When Muslims were the
majority population of Jerusalem, the Holy City was still revered
and beloved by Christians and Jews alike. Demographic numbers
are not what should dictate a course of action in Kosovo. The
terrorist group known as the KLA has made it very clear that it
intends to rip Kosovo out of the body of Yugoslavia, this will
be like ripping out Serbia's heart.
No one is saying that horrible things are not occurring
in Kosovo. It is clear that such things are occurring. What is
not clear is exactly who is committing what actions and why. Is
it the role of the United States and NATO to police the world
and make it safe from the horrors mankind often engages in? If
the answer to that question is "yes" than the question
that begs to be asked is: Is NATO prepared to bomb Turkey? Is
NATO prepared to bomb the British, the Indonesians, and the Chinese?
Turkey has destroyed over 2,000 Kurdish villages in the
past ten years. During this same period in Turkey over 30,000
people have been killed, most of then Kurdish civilians killed
by the Turkish armed forces. Unlike the Albanian speaking citizens
of Kosovo the Kurds of Turkey are not permitted to speak their
native tongue. The Turkish regime does not even acknowledge the
existence of the Kurdish people who number some 10 million. The
Turkish government refers to these millions of people as "Mountain
The Kurds are more than 20% of Turkey's population. Kosovo's
Albanians are only 2% of YugoslaviaÆs population.
Turkey continues to illegally occupy 1/3 of the Republic
of Cyprus 24 years after Turkey brutally and illegally (according
to UN resolutions 353-361 and many more) invaded Cyprus. Is NATO
planning to attack Ankara? Are my fellow Greek Orthodox brethren
in Cyprus not worth the attention the Muslims of Kosovo are getting?
Great Britain continues to occupy six counties in Ireland.
Yes, the US is helping to broker a lasting peace in the six counties
but I doubt any NATO strikes against Britain are planned or were
Indonesian military forces killed hundreds of thousands,
yes that is correct, hundreds of thousands of East Timorese civilians
during the last 20 years. East Timor is all but wiped out as a
nation. Is NATO planning to bomb America's great trading partner
What the Chinese did and continue to do in Tibet is well
known. Tibetan culture is nearly extinct in Tibet thanks to what
America calls a "most favored nation" China. I don't
think NATO would dare attack China.
Why the double standard? I think you know the answer to
that question better than anyone does. In fact I am sure you know
everything that is contained in this letter. I would like to remind
you that though she is not perceived by the Great Powers as being
as important as Turkey, Britain, Indonesia and China, Serbia has
fought loyally, gallantly, and bravely as America's ally in every
major war America has fought in this century. In both World Wars
Serbia lost two-thirds of her young men in the defense of freedom
against fascism. Serbia may not be important or powerful enough
to warrant the same treatment given to the above mentioned nations.
This is real-politick. But have we as a people become so cynical
and callous that we measure our friends and how we treat them
by how important and powerful they are? Does might make right?
If the answer to that question is "yes" than I must
ask you another question: Using the logic and pretense that a
NATO attack against Yugoslavia is justified by the Serbian regime's
mistreatment of Kosovo's Albanians by what authority does the
U.S. justify an attack against Yugoslavia? If "might makes
right" are the Serbs then not "right" in using
their "might" against what they perceive to be a terrorist
threat in their heartland? This is NATO and U.S. State Department
logic, not mine.
Yugoslavia is a sovereign nation. How would America feel
if a foreign power sided with a secessionist terrorist organization?
If current trends continue many areas of the southern U.S. will
be a majority of Spanish speakers. What if these Spanish speakers
decide they want to secede from America and declare independence
and one day unite with one of our southern Spanish-speaking neighbors?
How would the US have reacted to a foreign power threatening to
bomb Washington, D.C. unless Dr. Martin Luther King were not freed
from his Birmingham jail cell?
Finally, I will remind you that Serbia is after all an
Orthodox Christian nation. As the spiritual leader of the Old
Calendar Greek Orthodox Church of this country I am extremely
perturbed about this pending outrageous and unjustified military
strike against my fellow Orthodox Christians! I am against this
NATO action with all my heart and mind. Every Orthodox Christian
in this country and in the world will be highly offended by a
strike against Yugoslavia.
Christian values are what this great country of ours was
founded upon. Your actions now should be dictated by such values.
I implore you to do everything in your power to stop this NATO
attack. Your decision may make this your finest or bitterest hour.
May God have mercy on us all.
In Christ I am,
Metropolitan Archbishop PAVLOS
of the Old Calendar Greek Orthodox Christians, of North and South