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20.000 Serbs went from Mostar during and after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 22 years ago, there were close to 24,000 Serbs in this city, today there are only four. One Serb Radivoje Krulj, the priest of the Serbian Ortodox Church, has decided to move to this town. Despite devastating statistics of his people, the priest is doing everything to make Mostar nice place to live for all of its citizens.
“I see Mostar has a future, and it is said that Mostar is a multiethnic city and the chances are serious and large,”says Krulj.
In addition to gathering the Serbs, Krulj knows all of them here, Mostar’s vicar is a bond which brings together various religions. In Mostar, it is not uncommon to see representatives of different confessions together in different occasions.
“Now I see that we live as brothers and if we repeatedly meet for a cup of coffee to talk for no reason it is transmitted to our faith, and we see people actually live like that in everyday life,” said Krulj.
Krulj, in addition of his working to restore the torn links between the citizens of Mostar, is working on the reconstruction of the Cathedral, which was destroyed in the last war. The desire of SPC is to bring this temple back to Mostar until 2019, when it will be 800 years since the first Serbian educator Saint Sava has founded Eparchy of the Zahumlje and Herzegovina.
“We wanted to call this action- rebuild the temple, rebuild Mostar, but we did not want to be pretentious to say that we will restore the whole of Mostar, but that is the desire of all citizens of Mostar to complete the restoration of the Ortodox Church”, says the priest Krulj.
Indeed, the temple of Mostar has become a symbol of reconciliation, and priest Krulj is a favourite among all religions in this town.
When Bishop Gregory Djuric was asked to comment on the lawsuit of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia for genocide and aggression, a lawsuit shared public opinion in BIH, the bishop answered:”I did come to Mostar and said I will find who crashed the Cathedral, but I said let’s go build the Cathedral all together.”
It is interesting that Krulj was not born in Mostar. He was born in Ljubinje. But he decided to move to Mostar and together with him in Mostar returned Dalibor Djurasovic. When the old bridge in Mostar was destroyed, they were together in high school in Bileća. Djurasovic moved to Bileća during the war, cried at the moment and Krulj was comforting him.
“And then we said, let us vow that we will, when we finish study, return to Mostar as a doctor and a priest”, said Krulj. I came back, today Krulj is a priest in this town and Dr. Djurasovic works as an anesthesiologist and a president of the Church community in Mostar.
Author: Aleksandra Tolj
This text was written as a part of Divided Past – Joint Future project and it does not represent nor reflects attitudes and viewpoints of the European Union, its institutions and bodies. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the text lies entirely with the author.