Albanian historians from Decani again criticize Europa Nostra and Abbot of V. Decani

V dečani slava
FOTO: KoSSev

„Europa Nostra, you should not engage in politics concerning the Visoki Decani monastery. You should stay away from politics,“ the League of Kosovo Historians „Ali Hadri“ reacted on Sunday. They claim that the decision of this organization to include the monastery in its list of endangered monuments is „out of place“ because, as they say, the monastery had always been guarded by the local Albanians. They believe that the Kosovo Police should be in charge of the safety of the monastery. Once again, they accused the abbot of Visoki Decani monastery of carrying out a „campaign against Kosovo,“ stressing that he is the one who „endangers the monastery with his malicious policy“.

Representatives of Europa Nostra, a European heritage organization, are currently on a Kosovo tour. In the previous days, they held several meetings with international and local officials, as well as religious representatives.

They discussed the protection of religious sites, especially Visoki Decani, which this organization included in its list of the 7 most endangered cultural monuments in Europe in 2021, which triggered an avalanche of criticism of Kosovo politicians. Several top Kosovan officials even sent letters to Europa Nostra, objecting to this decision.

At the meetings with Europa Nostra representatives, Kosovo ministers reiterated that the monastery enjoys full legal protection, describing the decision to include it in the most endangered list as “unfair.”

On Sunday, the Decani branch of the League of Kosovo Historians „Ali Hadri“ also reacted, once again opposing such a decision by Europa Nostra.

In addition to labeling the decision to include Visoki Decani as one of the most endangered sites as “out of place,” they alleged that the monastery is one of the safest places in Kosovo because the forces of the NATO alliance secure the building and the area around it.

At the same time, they added that the Kosovo Police should be in charge of the safety of the monastery.

In their reaction, they stated that the monastery has reportedly been preserved and guarded by the local Albanians since its construction until today.

„Decani Monastery was guarded and respected by the local Albanian population in all stages of our history. The monastery co-existed for centuries and exists even today in complete co-existence with the local Albanian population“ – the historians wrote, Kosovo media report.

Underlining that the monastery is not endangered by Albanians, they underscored that it is threatened only by the „malicious policy of the head of the monastery, abbot Sava Janjic“.

At the same time, they commented on the recent allegations of the Visoki Decani monastery on Twitter, declaring once again that they are against the implementation of the ruling of the Kosovo Constitutional Court on the land of this monastery.

„We strongly condemn yesterday’s position of the head of Decani monastery, abbot Sava Janjic, who demands the implementation of the illegal and unconstitutional ruling of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo, the ruling based on the laws from Milosevic’s time. As such that decision should not be implemented because it will produce a ripple effect, i.e. it will set a dangerous precedent for Kosovo as there are dozens of political churches in Kosovo built by the Serbian state from 1989 to 1999,“ they underlined.

The Kosovan historians say they give full and unreserved support to the views of the Kosovo government and other institutions regarding the ruling concerning Visoki Decani. They stressed that Kosovan institutions are “very principled – like never before” when it comes to this issue.

They urged Abbot Sava Janjic to „cease the campaign against the state of Kosovo as soon as possible and accept Kosovo citizenship, and not play with double standards.“

„He should not mess around with the priest’s robes, because the priest’s robes belong to a clergyman, not to a politician,“ historians stated.

They also criticized the monastery’s recent allegations that the Kosovo authorities are rejecting the signed IMC agreement on a bypass road around the monastery protective zone.

„This request is absurd,“ they said.

The League of Kosovo Historians „Ali Hadri“ from Decani has been the most vocal in opposing the implementation of the ruling of the Kosovo Constitutional Court issued six years ago, following a 16 year-long court proceeding. The ruling confirmed the decision of the Supreme Court to return 24 hectares of land to the Visoki Decani monastery. The decision, however, has yet to be implemented and the land has not been registered in the cadastre.

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