28th June – A Day for Prayer for Serbia and the Balkans.

 

Today is the 28th June: a most significant day in Balkan – and world – history…

 

1389

Celebrated in Serbia as “Vidovdan”, many mark the ancient “Battle of Kosovo Field” that took place on this day in 1389 between the Ottoman Empire and the Serbs (supported by Croats and Bosnians) in Kosovo. This battle resulted in defeat for the Serbs and a change of fortunes for the peoples of these lands as the Ottomans continued north.

Ingrained in the culture and history of Serbia, there are songs, poems, paintings and legends that refer back to this day…

 

1914

It was on the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Field that Archduke Ferdinand chose to visit Sarajevo, Bosnia and was killed by Princip who in turn attempted to take his own life. These events precipitated the beginning of the First World War that was to rage to 1918.

 

1989

On this day, the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo Field, then-president, Milosovic, addressed a crowd of approximately a million people at Gazimestan – the site of the ancient battle. To some this was a heroic celebration, to others a provocation that was another landmark on the road to the terrible civil war that soon was to ravage the region.

 

2014

Across the world, many are solemnly remembering today as the 100th anniversary of those shots that led towards the First World War.

In one Bosnian city, close to the centre, a new building is being opened today. Here, Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks – and members of other European nations – meet together claiming a unique unity experienced through trusting in the One who calls Himself the Prince of Peace. They claim to follow Jesus Christ – Emmanuel – “God among us” – crucified to bring forgiveness to a broken and rebellious humanity – a forgiveness that brings liberation, relationship, hope and a future…

 

How should we mark such a day?

Many of us are choosing to set apart today to pray for the peoples of the Balkans, recognising that along with all of humanity, we need a rescue – a rescue that comes about through trusting in Jesus Christ – “The God with Scars”…

 

“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:5-6

 

- Andy Mayo with many thanks to Jenny Blake for suggesting that we mark today by praying for the Balkans.

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Sladjan Milenkovic

 

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