Yesterday in the Sarajevo neighborhood of Pofalići, the Serbian Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik spoke on how important it was for the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord to live on and for people to gather.

Dodik, who is the godfather of the Church’s feast day, pointed out that he was happy that a large number of believers who care about the Serbian identity, the Orthodox Church and Serbian values had gathered for the feast day, and said that all of the talk about the multi-ethnicity of Sarajevo dies on the fact that its authorities would not restore the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

“As far as Serbian property and Serbian rights, the federal Sarajevo is an usurper city where the Serbian Orthodox Church owns a great deal of property that they refuse to talk about, or to give it back,” emphasized Dodik.

He recalled that it was agreed during his visit to the United States of America 15 years ago that everything would be finalized within the month, but the month turned out to last for 15 years.

“That is stolen property, and its return has never been placed on the agenda. We have been trying everything, institution-wise, to get it done, but that decision is up to the local authorities in Sarajevo, who are trying to sell a story about a tolerant city, when in fact they are thieves,” said Dodik.

He pointed out that Sarajevo used to have a large Serbian community, that around 150,000 people had been exiled from this city during the war, and that in the post-war period they have not  achieved many of the rights in Sarajevo that are afforded to other nations in the territory of the Republic of Srpska.

He added that “there was a large number of unreturned apartments that had been usurped and were not returned to Serbs, and whatever property they used to have was sold for cheap after the war, because people did not want to come back and relive the torture”.

Dodik stressed that Serbs had invested a lot in Sarajevo to build communal infrastructure, everything that is needed for life, schools, hospitals, museums, tramways and railways, and then they had to leave all of it because they could not put up with the torture.

“They were killed just because they were Serbs. A lot of camps were established to take Serbs and mistreat them, and many have come up to me today with horrific memories, but still happy and content to be alive and to be able to meet in this spot,” said Dodik.