(Photo: Serbia’s Partiarch Irinej in Belgrade, August 4, 2010/Marko Djurica)
Serbian Orthodox Church and political leaders gather on Sunday to enthrone a new patriarch to guide a religion embodying the spirit of Serbia, but the once a generation ceremony will take place on foreign soil in Kosovo.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but many Serbs still see majority Muslim Kosovo and the monasteries there as the cradle of their Orthodox religion. Old churches and monasteries dot the landscape of the smallest country in the Balkans.
The leader of a protest against Kosovo’s ban on headscarves in public schools says devout Muslims could resort to violence to get their way, though Islam is not central to the lives of most Kosovo Albanians.
The June 18 rally in the capital Pristina by 5,000 women in headscarves, supported by some bearded men, was held after a few headscarf-clad girls were prevented from entering their schools. It was an extraordinary sight in Kosovo, whose 2 million population is 90 percent Muslim but mostly secular in lifestyle.