Concert for Kosovo Refugees
A benefit concert was held on March 21 at the Antiochian Orthodox
Church of SS Peter and Paul in Potomac, MD (near Washington, DC),
to benefit refugees from Kosovo. The concert was organized to help
orphaned Serbian children. The concert had been planned long before,
but recent events lent more meaning to the event.The benefit was
organized at the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of
St. John the Baptist in Washington, DC. The concert was attended
by the heir to the throne of Serbia and Montenegro, Prince Alexander
II, and his wife, Princess Katherine, who head the philanthropic
society "Lifeline," which helps Serbian orphans. Their
Royal Highnesses dedicated the concert to the recent victims of
Kosovo. In his speech, Prince Alexander accused those who inflamed
"For us it is exceedingly important to counterbalance the mobs
of hooligans, be they Serbs or Albanians. I blame all who destroy
churches and houses of prayer."
During the presentation of Princess Katherine, who told of the horrors
occurring in Kosovo, and of the fate of the children who end up
in orphanages, many of those who were present were brought to tears.
"We live in a world which has resources for war," said
Princess Katherine, "but none for peace." There are strategies
for war, but no plans for peace. Until we invest our efforts in
peace, it will not exist." Her Royal Highness went on to say:
"Russia and Serbia were always close. Both countries endured
great sufferings. But, rising to their feet, both Russia and Serbia
must become an example for the whole world."
Protopriest Victor Potapov, greeting Prince Alexander, Princess
Katherine and the audience of clergy and laity, spoke of the close
relationship between Serbia and Russia and of the hospitality shown
to Russian refugees by King Alexander and the Serbian Orthodox Church,
thanks to which the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia could
live and develop freely. Fr. Victor recalled the pilgrimage his
parish made last October to Serbia, and the visit with the Prince
and Princess at their palace in Belgrade.
The choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, under the direction
of Yu.A. Pecherkin, performed works by Chesnokov, Ledkovsky, Sviridov,
Taneeff and other composers. Also, Toshiko Kono, one of the ten
finest floutists in the world, performed a series of Western classical
Toshiko, or Vera, as the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Cathedral
know her, performed with her mother, the pianist Sumiko Sophia Kono,
and violinist Dionisia Wilkinson. A song by Tchaikovsky was sung
by the famous Washington bass, Vladimir Ekzarkhov. A dramatic element
was added to the concert by the participation of Serbian scholar
Branislav Djordjevic, who spent many months in an American immigration
prison because of the carelessness of his attorney. All the performers
are parishioners of St. John the Baptist Cathedral.
After the concert, a short moleben was served for the return of
peace to Kosovo.
The evening concluded with a small reception organized by the sisterhood
of the local Serbian Orthodox church of St. Luke. Over $13,000 was
raised for the Serbian refugees.