The Demons of Kosovo

The competing claims of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo have been hopelessly tangled in the webs of history and myth.

Issue: Summer 1998

A gray falcon spread its wings and flew away from Jerusalem to the
field of Kosovo. It carried a book from the Mother of God to Tsar
Lazar, who was preparing his army to defend Serbia against attack by
the Turks. The falcon dropped the book on the Tsar's knees, and it
began to speak by itself:

'Honorable Tsar Lazar, what Kingdom will you embrace now? Is it to be
the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of this world? If you choose the
earthly one, saddle your horses, tighten their reins, gird on your
swords. Let all your knights rush together among the Turks. All the
Turkish invaders will perish by your hands. But if you choose the
Kingdom of Heaven, then build a church on the field of Kosovo, not
with marble but with pure silk and brocades, and let your knights
take holy communion in it. For they shall all die, and you, Prince,
will die with them.'

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!