Diocese of Raska-Prizren concerned over attacks on religious sites – most of them have an ethnic or religious background

Crkva Eparhija raško prizrenska
FOTO: Eparhija raško-prizrenska

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren expressed deep concern last night over the numerous attacks which were recently recorded on religious buildings of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo.

They condemned the recent stoning of the church of St. Petka in Vitina, as well as the attempt to remove the church flag from the bell tower of the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in nearby Klokot on St. George’s Day.

While the Diocese and the Kosovo Office claim that the church in Vitina was stoned, the spokesman of the Kosovo Police for the Gnjilane region, Ismet Hashani, told KoSSev on Monday that the church custodian reported that he found a stone in the churchyard. They also say that nothing was damaged, and that, although there is no case, the Kosovo Police is monitoring the situation.

They recalled that money and church valuables were stolen from the church of Holy Trinity in the neighboring village of Partes earlier this year.

Incidents before Easter were not absent in the southern parts of Kosovo as well, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren underscored.

„In the village of Drajkovce near Strpce, the Church of Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and St. Dimitrije Church in Donja Bitinja were looted. A whole array of previously reported attacks and robberies, which the police allegedly started investigating, have not been resolved, or at least the Diocese has not been informed about it, nor has the damage been compensated. The biggest damage was incurred near the church in Vitomirica, where construction material worth €4,000 was stolen,“ the Diocese underlined, recalling that the church of St. John the Baptist in the center of the town of Pec/Peja, known as the „Metropolitan,“ was stoned a few days ago.

„A window was broken on that occasion. The attackers entered the church port, which is allegedly secured by the police, or they stoned the church from a nearby building,” the Diocese stated.

According to the Diocese, the priest who lives alone in the parish home next to the church is concerned over this incident because the church in question – like many other churches that are now being looted and attacked – was set on fire and desecrated in the 2004 pogrom during which 32 churches were severely damaged and two monasteries were completely demolished in just two days.

„This latest wave of violence is not only, as Kosovo institutions like to say, a part of everyday life in which thefts in mosques are also recorded. Attacks on Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo are incessantly taking place and most have an ethnic and religious background because they are directed specifically against one community whose presence obviously bothers someone,“ the Diocese of Raska and Prizren wrote in a statement.

They revealed that the head of the European Mission in Kosovo and the head of the EULEX mission, Quint country ambassadors, as well as KFOR representatives, will be informed about these incidents.

Данас сам примио шефа ЕУ мисије на Косову* Његову Екселенцију Амбасадора Томаша Сунјога. Разговарали смо о постојећој…

Posted by Sava Janjić on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

„Complaints to Kosovo institutions are pointless because this violence is the product of aggressive rhetoric that comes from the very top of Kosovo institutions, which instead of solving the problems of the population, economy and facing the covid pandemic, attack Serbia with the harshest words and collectively accuse the Serb people and even our Church.“

The Diocese alleged that such behavior directly creates „dangerous potential for violence“, while also arguing that international representatives should be aware that „loyal authorities are politically manipulating the citizens to lessen their own problems“.

„At the same time, the pressure on Serbs complicates the everyday life of our people, who have already lost all trust in the police and institutions of Kosovo Albanians due to disrespect for laws and court decisions, as is the case with the Visoki Decani monastery,“ they specified.

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren expressed expectation that the international representatives will protect basic religious and human rights, and that the institutions of Serbia will initiate the quest for a solution to this issue at a higher international level.

Kosovo officials have not reacted so far to the statement of the Kosovo Office and the Diocese of Raska and Prizren about the latest attacks on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church. A similar lack of reaction of Kosovo officials to such incidents was also recorded in the past.

Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.