The Lamb and the Sacrifice


When the Lord was carrying His Cross to Golgotha, how many of them came up to Him to help Him? How many pushed through the malicious mass of people, how many made their way through His enemies, saying: “Let me help You, Teacher, if only a little”? Even the most courageous hid themselves amongst the maddened crowd, afraid for themselves  rather than for God. A few of them knew that a righteous man was being led to the Golgotha: Pilate, the rabbis, the disciples of Christ. Many in that furious mob did not know whether a righteous man was before them, or a criminal. Many of them hated Him without even knowing what His sin was. They believed their leaders that the man was a blasphemer. It was neither the first nor the last time in the history of the human race that people were led to believe sinful men, instead of the All-knowing Lord. And the words “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” echoed all over Jerusalem.

The Lord walked, bent over by the weight of the Cross. The Lamb walked towards the place of sacrifice, but that was not hard for Him. After all, He had come to the world in order to be sacrificed. What saddened Him was that every one had forsaken Him, that no one showed compassion. Loneliness spread around the Lamb. The people listened to the furious cries of the evil one, but had no strength to resist them. No one had the courage to stand by the Lamb. No one among the people dared ask: “What is the truth?” Not skeptically, as did  Pilate or our contemporary, Madeleine Albright. They did not posses that kind of cynicism and irony. The leaders of the people had given them an excuse. The leaders had told them that the Lamb was the guilty one. And the crowd had accepted that, for the sake of “peace.”  One should not start a quarrel with Rome, one should not oppose the Sanhedrin, one should not ask why all this is happening… And the Pharisees,the Saducees, the Roman soldiers, all of them contemplate the death of a righteous man with a kind of sick pleasure.

Centuries passed and the Lord’s torturous walk repeated itself in the life of many Christ-loving people and nations. When, in the year 1389, the Serbs set out for the battle of Kosovo in order to prevent the Turkish invasion that was threatening Europe, no one came to help them. Europe was busy talking about the Schism, about heretics, and her kings and emperors, and above all Rome, were rejoicing in the defeat of Orthodoxy. They were eagerly awaiting the fall of Byzantium, the extinguishing of the light of truth. With eager anticipation they waited for the heathens to destroy our monasteries and our churches, as if God could be toppled to the ground. They were eager to see our fortresses torn down, our people destroyed. The death of Serbs was ever a welcome event for Europe and as far as Europe was concerned, Serbian victims did not exist. The Austrian sovereigns showed more compassion for their hunting dogs and falcons, then for Serbs who had died defending them from Islamic invaders.

Serbs gave up their lives for Europe and Europe spun legends about what barbarians we were. Djuradj Brankovic, the Serbian Job, who had given his daughter to the invader and lived with his two blinded sons, all for the freedom of his people, was described as an opportunist by Europeans. Our warriors, who had formed a shield around the Austrian borders with their swords, were forcefully converted to Catholicism by the Kaiser and his counselors from Rome, as soon as the threat of Turkish invasion had passed. The Cross-bearing nation, with no allies, their only hope rooted in God, became a pariah in the eyes of men. And we were forsaken by all: from the East, the West, the North and the South. “My tear findeth no comfort” is and has always been the logo, the true essence of Serbian history.

In the uprising against the Turks under the leadership of Karadjordje the Serbs refused to sign a peace treaty with them, our wish being to free from the Turkish yoke all of our Christian brethren in the Balkans. Who was our greatest enemy in this holy war? The whole of Europe. The European sovereigns felt more pity for the bloodthirsty Turks than for their victims. The Serbian leaders, defeated, begged at the doorsteps of European courts for help in freeing the Christian peoples, but to no avail. A newly built church graced every liberated town or village in Serbia in the 19th century,  yet the young monk Nikolai, who was later to become a Bishop and would earn the name of the “Serbian Chrysostom”, had to explain to our European allies during World War 1 that we were Christians. We, who had defended Christianity for five hundred years, had to prove that we were Christians to a world which would have co-operated with the devil himself for the sake of money. We, who had given the Christian world such a martyr as the Holy Deacon Avakum, who joyfully carried the stick upon which he was to be impaled, singing that there was no faith more beautiful than the Christian faith, we had to prove that we belonged to Christ.

Our sacrifices went unnoticed by world history. The British press bemoaned the fate of the Turks during the wars in 1875-1878. Disraeli’s press described the “crimes of wild Serbian hordes” carried out on the “civilized Ottoman warriors.” Our sacrifices were never mentioned, as the sacrifices of the righteous, invariably, never are. These sacrifices are implied, they are taken for granted. When World War I was over,  that very same Europe allowed our “brothers” to keep us in fetters. After World War II, the only allies in occupied Europe they had were forgotten. They sold us into the hands of unbelievers. When they decided to break up the state into which they had forced us, they hacked off pieces of the body of the Serbian nation. They hacked off pieces of our body and now they want our soul.

They want to tear our heart out. To steal our history. To reduce us to what they have been asserting about us for centuries, an uncivilized rabble. They want our monasteries, our churches, our cemeteries; the living witnesses of our past. With great pomp and fanfare, they recognized the rights of every single nation in the world, the right to have one’s home, one’s homeland, but this right has been denied us.  They took our ancestral lands. Hunted us down like wild beasts all over the Balkans. Forced us into a third of our territory, but even that was not enough. They allowed their servants to brainwash us for fifty years. But, o wonder! We have not forgotten who we are. As in a folk tale, they are after our strength. They thought our strength was in Krajina, in Slavonia, in Bosnia, in Baranja, in Macedonia, in Montenegro. They came, they saw, it was not there. Now they think it is in old Serbia, in the cradle of the old Nemanjic state.

Those who boast of having read the Bible are now threatening us with war. They tell us we are small and that for this reason we must be obedient. They make no secret of the fact that they no longer want us as slaves, but that they want our very existence to cease. But they that take pride in knowing their Bible forget about the story of Giddeon. They forget that the Lord fights on the side of the righteous. Or perhaps it is not forgetfulness, perhaps it is not our Lord to whom they pray. Perhaps they serve another god, the one who hates Christ.

It is the anniversary of our defeat at the battle of Kosovo. The defeat which our god, Lord of all victories, turned into our victory. Our ancestors knew Who brings victory and Who triumphs, although some of us, and most certainly the contemporary masters of the world have, in their perverse cynicism, forgotten this. And precisely because of this forgetfulness, they are unable to find where our strength lies, because they are looking in the wrong places. Our strength, the strength of the Serbian people is Jesus Christ, the Lamb and the Savior.


Djordje Janic