On June 15th, 1999, Monk Hariton was abducted, tortured and beheaded by unknown assailants, believed to be acting from within or on behalf of the so-called Kosovar Liberation Army, known by its Albanian-language acronym, UÇK. His body was found shortly thereafter without its head. His spiritual father, the venerable Fr. Elijah Milinkovic’ declared that “Monk Hariton is a martyr of Christ.” . . . many have already testified to the miraculous intercession of the martyred monk.
As Orthodox Christians take pause this Lenten season to commemorate on the “Black Spring” of 1999, when NATO forces bombed the former nation of Yugoslavia as its armed forces made a determined but ill-fated attempt to retain Kosovo, the cultural, historical and Orthodox cradle of the Serbian people, it is impossible not to reflect on the tragic loss of life, property, social fabric and cultural treasures over the period of the campaign through the spring and early summer of that bleak year.
Of the hundreds of Serbs whose lives were lost twenty years ago, one name above others stands out as an example of the sacrifice and struggle of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Monk Hariton of the Crna Reka Brotherhood, born Radoslav Lukic’ in the impoverished southern Serbian village of Seoce in 1960, led an exemplary life of humility, service and duty to first his nation and then the Orthodox Church, being tonsuring a monk with the Holy Archangels monastery in the spring of 1998. While Monk Hariton had greatly desired to dedicate his life to Christ and His Church in the Holy Land, his path to the Heavenly Kingdom proved to be through martyrdom in his native homeland.
On June 15th, 1999, Monk Hariton was abducted, tortured and beheaded by unknown assailants, believed to be acting from within or on behalf of the so-called Kosovar Liberation Army, known by its Albanian-language acronym, UÇK. His body was found shortly thereafter without its head. His spiritual father, the venerable Fr. Elijah Milinkovic’ declared that “Monk Hariton is a martyr of Christ.” Monk Hariton’s body was reburied at his beloved Crna Reka monastery in the southwestern Serbian province of Novi Pazar, where many have already testified to the miraculous intercession of the martyred monk.
In November of 2018, the booklet Hariton, Martyr of Crna Reka was successfully translated into English following the blessing of the Crna Reka Brotherhood. A limited run of 50 copies has been distributed to the monastery and those engaged in the publishing of Orthodox Christian media in the hopes of an expanded, more professional edition of the publication being available to the wider English-speaking audience. Efforts to translate the booklet into Greek and Arabic are already underway, with the hopes that it will ultimately be available in all primary languages common within the Orthodox Church.
Dan Koski, formerly of Minnesota in the United States, first bore witness to the destruction and dispossession created by the 1999 NATO bombing in December of 1999 and January of 2000, when he first visited Serbia. He has since returned four times to the region while residing in the Holy Land. His desire to see the story of the martyrdom of Fr. Hariton be better known throughout the Orthodox Church led to his decision to organize the translation of “Hariton, Martyr of Kosovo,” which was made possible through a generous benefactor, and a subsequent limited publishing run.
For more information on the publication and current efforts for a second English language edition as well as other language editions, please contact Dan Koski at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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