Nora Weller: Kosovo to prove that the Serb community and monasteries are protected

Source: Koha (The text was originally translated from Albanian, the title has been adapted)

Weller: The complexity of the Visoki Decani monastery is the result of the behavior in Kosovo

According to anthropologist Nora Weller, the issue of the status of the Visoki Decani monastery in Kosovo has become very complex as a result of the behavior of the Kosovo authorities.

In the „Interaktiv“ show on KTV, Weller said that the Kosovo authorities are not behaving in a professional manner towards the Serbian Orthodox Church.

„The issue of the monastery and its status in Kosovo is very complex and that complexity dates back to the time of Ahtisaari, but it goes even deeper bearing in mind that the local authorities have never employed diplomacy and the necessary professionalism in their behavior toward the Church. Moreover, the central authorities in Kosovo did not deal with church issues with the seriousness they deserve. I don’t know why, but the Serbian Orthodox Church is constantly being put aside,“ she said.

According to Weller, the issue of the Serbian church will be one of the main issues in the next part of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

„It is clear that the Church is struggling to solve its status, even beyond the fact that Ahtisaari’s plan protects it on several levels, the state protects the Church with some laws, but no public figure has ever come out or a Kosovo public official has commented in such a way as to leave the impression on international representatives in Kosovo that Kosovo is, in fact, taking care of the church. Moreover, this road is now another proof that Kosovo is not able to apply its laws in the defense of communities as promised, and because of that, the church has room to do other things, which are not even in their competence. The legislation might not even allow them to do that either,“ Weller added.

Weller: Kosovo to prove that the Serb community and monasteries are protected

Nora Weller, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, estimated that the central, and particularly the local authorities – in this case, the municipality of Decani, should refrain from commenting on the monastery.

In an interview for the show “Interaktiv” on KTV, anthropologist Weller said that Kosovo must prove that the Serb community and the monastery in Decani are protected.
The construction of the Decani-Plav road caused a clash between the local authorities and the monastery, which claims that this project endangers it. This led to the involvement of the central authorities in Kosovo, as well as a reaction from the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic.

„Local authorities, in this case – Decani authorities, should refrain from derogatory comments that I recently read about the church because they thus only prove their weakness when compared to the church. After all, when a foreign ambassador comes out and says – stop the road (cf. construction), it must be stopped. A real dialogue must be initiated, while local and central authorities in Kosovo must prove that they are able to protect the SOC because that is how they had defended it for centuries and decades. They have to prove that the Serb community is protected, even in this case, and that their cultural values are also protected,“ Weller said.

She said that comments on the subject should also be avoided. According to her, many comments presented in recent days are incorrect.
„We must avoid any comments that have anything to do with history or some recent comments that say it is the property of Kosovo, not Serbia. Such comments are unnecessary and, in addition, create an advantage for the church in their ultimate demand to create a certain area of extraterritoriality in Kosovo.

Therefore, it would be the wisest to approach this issue in a professional, technical way and determine whether there is really a problem that can damage the monastery building. That would be better than entering the deep history politics, which will not be fruitful for Kosovo in the future,“ Weller added.

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Abbot Sava: The law has been violated, the works on the road within the SPZ must be stopped

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