On the night between 29th and 30th June, the Serbian Orthodox Church flag was stolen from the main gate of Gracanica Monastery. The flag is displayed on important Church feast days. the Diocese of Raska and Prizren announced today.
The Diocese wrote in a statement today that a photo of a masked person with a flag of Albania standing on a church flag allegedly appeared on social networks.
“Having in mind the dimensions of the flag, it is obvious that this is the one stolen from the Monastery gate,” they added.
According to the Diocese, this latest incident shows a high level of disrespect of religious rights and freedoms as well as the vulnerability of the Serbian Orthodox sites in Kosovo.
“The official flag of the Serbian Orthodox Church is a Serbian tricolor with a Cross with four ‘fire-striker’ shapes which is an old Christian symbol representing Christ as a King of kings.”
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren has reported this incident to the Kosovo Police, with a request for additional security of the Monastery.
Previously, the Kosovo Office shared the news of the stolen flag, revealing that the mast at the entrance door of the monastery was also broken.
„This act is a direct attack on the faith and a threatening message to the believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and an unequivocal indicator of the unstable and dangerous security situation in Kosovo Serb communities. At the same time, it is obvious that the Kosovo Police is neither qualified nor does it protect the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church,“ the Kosovo Office stated.
They reminded that the incident occurred at night, after the holiday of Vidovdan was marked in the Gracanica monastery and Gazimestan.
„It is not a coincidence that this scandalous, vandal act takes place immediately after the celebration of the great Serbian holiday Vidovdan, which was held in Gracanica in the presence of the Serbian Patriarch, Mr. Porfirije and numerous citizens,“ this Office added.
They underlined that a „series of aggressive attacks and organized violence“ is being carried out against Serbs and Orthodox religious buildings in Kosovo, noting that these attacks usually intensify during major holidays.
„On the one hand, we have images of senseless and open violence against all symbols of Orthodoxy and against our people in the province, harassment of Serbs by the Kosovo police, just because they traveled to Gazimestan to celebrate Vidovdan, the confiscation of Serbian flags and T-shirts with Serbian symbols, a nun getting frisked and the arrest of a young man who objected to this act, while on the other hand, we have the show on an oasis of religious and national tolerance in Kosovo that politicians from Pristina are putting on for European officials,“ the Kosovo Office said.
The Kosovo Office also maintained that since the beginning of the year, there have been a total of seventy attacks on Serbs, their property, and the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as more than 15 acts of vandalism targeting SOC sites.
„Such images best speak of the real life of Serbs in Kosovo,“ they concluded.
The KoSSev portal reached out to the Kosovo Police regarding the allegations of the Diocese and the Kosovo Office. The commander of the police station in Gracanica, Bratislav Trajkovic, did not respond to our calls, while the General Police Directorate in Pristina did not respond to our written inquiries by the time this news was published.
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