Church in Novo Brdo: Hoxhaj accuses Serbia of falsifying history

Enver Hodžaj
Foto: RTK

Serbia’s obsession with falsifying history is the cause of multiple wars and conflicts in the Balkans, and Kosovo’s religious and cultural heritage belongs to Kosovo citizens – the former Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister, Enver Hoxhaj said, responding to the news that the Serbian Minister of Culture, Vladan Vukosavljevic handed a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio in Belgrade addressed to the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi regarding the recent mass served by Albanian bishops at the remains of the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church at Novo Brdo.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Kosovo Dode Gjergji and the retired Bishop of Bar Zef Gashi with their clergy and a group of believers served a mass in early August at the remains of the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas at the Novo Brdo fortress. As it was announced, the mass was held in commemoration of August 1 – the (Albanian) Diaspora Day and, for the very first time, at the “Catholic Church of St. Nicholas.”

Serbian history and Christianity considers the same church as a Serbian Orthodox church and the cathedral church for the Serbian Orthodox bishops of Novo Brdo and Gracanica. The Eparchy of Raska-Prizren reacted to the occasion, expressing „deep disappointment“ over this “abuse and provocation.” The Eparchy announced it will seek protection from local and international institutions, as well as raise the issue with the Vatican.The Serbian Patriarch Irinej recently confirmed that the Serbian church will not stand idly by.

The Minister of Culture, Vladan Vukosavljevic sent a letter on Monday, urging Cardinal Ravasi to take the initiative and steps so that „the Albanian Catholic clergy in the territory of the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo would not needlessly provoke tension and desecrate religious and cultural-historical monuments of the Serbian people,” the Beta news agency reported.

The PDK official, Enver Hoxhaj reacted harshly to Vukosavljevic’s decision, accusing Serbia of manipulating facts and often involving people and science in its policy against Kosovo Albanians.

Furthermore, Hoxhaj referred to the “appropriation” of the church in Novi Brdo as Serbian as “ridiculous.”

„Churches, mosques, other objects of Kosovo’s cultural, historical and religious heritage belong to Kosovo and its citizens! The politicization of culture, science, history is a ridiculous and absurd game that Serbia is playing! Kosovo is a fact,“ he claimed.

This is the second time that the Orthodox Church in Novo Brdo came into the focus of the Serbian public in Kosovo for its presentation as a Catholic heritage.

The dispute of the legacy of the church during construction financed by the German embassy

The dispute of the legacy of the Novo Brdo fortress and church first appeared in the public in early June when Kosovo media announced the construction at the „cathedral in Artana, formerly Novo Brdo,“ claiming that the same site is a Roman Catholic church. The Eparchy of Raska-Prizren also reacted at the time, underlining that it is one of 40 special protected zones – which are subject to a special procedure under the Kosovo laws.

„This special procedure of determining if work can be carried out on a site depends not only on the decisions of Kosovo institutions but also the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church,“ the eparchy stressed.

In addition, this old religious site was incorrectly presented on the website of the Kosovo Ministry of Culture as a Roman Catholic church, without any mention of the authentic history of the temple and the results of archaeological research so far, which is a sad indication of the tendency to change historical facts in this region – also reported the orthodox eparchy.

German ambassador to Pristina, Christian Heldt, whose embassy financed works on the site from the Cultural Heritage Fund, said the project only preserved what was already on site. Heldt did not comment on the way the site was presented by the Kosovo Ministry of Culture.

„I don’t see a problem, I see it as the preservation of a cultural site. I really like that place in Novo Brdo because it represents the diversity of this country. Not only today, but also in a historical sense. Various cultural roots. I saw the site before the preservation process started and, frankly speaking, it didn’t look good. So, with our ministry’s cultural heritage preservation program which is implemented around the world, we have directed the funds to preserve what is there,“ Heldt told Radio Gorazdevac.

After Abbot Sava Janjic of the Decani Monastery gave an interview for the Voice of America, the section in the Albanian language, the Kosovo press once again reported that the Visoki Decani Monastery itself was, in fact, Albanian and requested for the Abbot to “apologize for genocide”, while citing „Ali Hadri“ Association of Kosovo historians from Decani

Read about it in: Albanian historians: „Abbot of Visoki Decani to apologize for genocide of the Serbian state and people. The monastery is Albanian“


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