Gervalla and Ceku to Europa Nostra: Remove Visoki Decani from the endangered sites list and requite for the damage to Kosovo’s reputation

After more than a month since Europa Nostra included the Visoki Decani Monastery in its seven most endangered sites list, which triggered negative reactions from Pristina, Kosovo officials sent another letter to the executive president of this organization, which was published by Pristina media. This time, two Kosovo ministers – the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gervalla-Schwarz, and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hajrulla Ceku expressed concern over Europa Nostra’s decision.

At the beginning of April, Europa Nostra, an organization dealing with the protection of cultural heritage, included Visoki Decani on this year’s list of the seven most endangered cultural monuments in Europe.

This decision triggered an avalanche of negative reactions from the Kosovo public and media.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti were among the first to express their disagreement in a joint letter they sent to Europa Nostra before the final decision on Visoki Decani was made. A total of 40 Kosovo NGOs also voiced their opposition to this decision.

This time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gervalla-Schwarz, and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hajrulla Ceku, sent a letter to the executive president of this organization.

They claim that this decision is unfounded because, in their words, it does not coincide with the facts on the ground.

According to them, it is clearly politically influenced and “an unprecedented practice.”

The two ministers urged Europa Nostra’s executive president to visit Kosovo as soon as possible and see the state of Decani monastery up close. They also alleged that Orthodox churches in Kosovo enjoy a high level of security and are “not endangered.”

“Without delay, you must requite for the damage you have inflicted upon Kosova’s reputation with your unjust and unfounded decision. We are inclined to believe that your visit and assessment of the current state will result in the revision of your list by removing the Monastery of Decani,” they concluded.

We publish the letter in its entirety:

Honorable Mr. Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra,
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kosova, we express our concern regarding Europa Nostra’s decision to include the Monastery of Decan on the list of „Europe’s Seven Most Endangered Monuments“. We are convinced that this decision is unfounded, as it does not coincide with the facts on the ground.

Further, the decision is clearly politically influenced, an unprecedented practice in Europe Nostra’s highly regarded historical reputation.

We invite you to visit Kosova and see up-close the state of the Monastery of Decan.

During your decision making process, you neglected an essential dimension, consultation with interested parties, while you took into account a tendentious and unprofessional text by the nominating organisation.

Therefore, we invite you to come and speak to the residents of the area, clergy of the Monastery, civil society organisations, professionals, local and international security institutions, international organisations operating in Kosova, state officials and others.
It is the independent and professional assessment of local and international law and order institutions that Orthodox churches in Kosova enjoy a high level of security and are not endangered.

With the declaration of independence, the state of Kosova has adopted all constitutional, legal, institutional and political guarantees for the protection and advancement of the rights of all minority communities in our country.

The Republic of Kosova is fully committed to the protection of all cultural heritage assets of the country, and particularly of Orthodox churches and monasteries, the Orthodox clergy and members of religious and minority communities.

The institutions of the Republic of Kosova are the highest authorities for the protection of the country’s cultural heritage assets. We protect our heritage. Our heritage is universal, it belongs to all of humanity, previous, current and future generations. In this spirit, we invite you for principled cooperation with the aim of the most effective protection of cultural heritage. We are against the exploitation of cultural heritage for the political gains of one or another state.

We propose that your delegation’s visit to Kosova is carried out as soon as possible. Without delay, you must requite for the damage you have inflicted upon Kosova’s reputation with your unjust and unfounded decision. We are inclined to believe that your visit and assessment of the current state will result in the revision of your list by removing the Monastery of Decan.

Read more:

Vucic: I don’t know which monument is more endangered than Visoki Decani in this part of Europe

Bishop Teodosije alerts of „aggressive“ pressure and negative media campaign against SOC and Decani

The Abbot today, Kosovo tomorrow

Natasa Kandic: It is shameful what the CDHRF is writing about Fr. Sava

Serb CSOs: The Government of Kosovo and international representatives to condemn CDHRF’s hate speech and protect Fr. Sava

CDHRF from the „burning“ of Albanians in Trepca in 1999, through to March 17th, to Fr. Sava as a „possible“ war criminal

Europa Nostra: Decani should not be a source of conflict, but a valuable link between citizens

Harsh reactions in the Kosovo media to Decani Monastery’s inclusion in the 7 Most Endangered 2021

Europa Nostra: Our goal is to serve as a catalyst for positive change and not to use the Decani monastery case for further political divisions

Kurti and Osmani in a letter to Europa Nostra before the final decision on Decani: Churches in Kosovo are not endangered

Fr. Sava: The paradox that the Church must remind Kosovo to respect its own laws and the constitution

Visoki Decani listed as one of the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe in 2021

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