Frequent Attacks and Provocations on Serbian Orthodox Churches in Kosovo-Metohija Continue
The Diocese of Raška and Prizren is worried and requests international reaction
Diocese of Raška and Prizren expressed its deep concern due to a series of recent attacks on religious sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija.
Last night (9 May) around 22.00 the church of St. Parasceva in Vitina was stoned. On St. George’s Day (6 May) unknown individuals tried to remove the Church flag from the bell-tower of the church of St. Apostles Peter and Paul in the neighboring village of Klokot. We should remind that in the neighboring village of Parteš, earlier this year money and church valuables were stolen from the Holy Trinity church.
Incidents before Easter happened also in southern parts of Kosovo and Metohija. In Drajkovce village near Štrpce there were thefts at the church of the Holy Martyrs of Sebaste and the church of St. Demetrius at Donja Bitinja. The series of earlier reported attacks and thefts, which Kosovo police allegedly began investigating have not been resolved, or at least our Diocese has not been informed about it, nor the damage has been recompensated. The greatest damage was made at the parish home of the church in Vitomirica (Peć Municipality) where the construction material 4000 EUR worth was stolen.
Today (10 May) in the Special Protective Zone of the 14th century church of the Holy Virgin in Lipljan the priest reported a stoning incident to the police. However, the police did take any measures because the policemen on duty did not speak Serbian. UNMIK and other international representatives have been informed about it.
A few days ago the church of St. John the Baptist in the center of the city of Peć known as „Metropolis“ was stoned. One window on the church was broken. The attackers either entered the church courtyard which is supposed to be secured by the police presence or it was attacked from the neighboring buildings. The priest who lives alone in the parish home next to the church is worried after this incident because this church as well as many others which have recently been looted or attacked were burned or desecrated in massive Kosovo Albanian riots in 2004 when in two days only 32 churches and two monasteries were destroyed or seriously damaged.
This new wave of violence is not only, as some in Kosovo institutions like to say, a part of everyday life with thefts in mosques and other sites. Attacks on Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo and Metohija are continually happening and mostly have ethnic or religious background as they are targeting concretely one community the presence of which is a problem to somebody.
The Diocese of Raška and Prizren will inform about these latest attacks the head of the EU Office in Kosovo, the head of the EULEX mission as well as the Quint Ambassadors and KFOR representatives. Complaints to Kosovo institutions are useless because this kind of violence is directly the product of the aggressive rhetoric which is heard from the very top of Kosovo institutions. Instead of dealing with social problems of the population, economy and facing the pandemic of Covid 19, Kosovo leaders attack Serbia every day using worst words and collectively accuse the Serbian people and even our Church.
Such a behavior directly generates a dangerous potential for further violence so the international representatives must be aware that the local authorities are politically manipulating their population with the goal to hide their own problems. At the same time the pressure on Serbs is making more difficult the life of our people which has already lost every confidence in police and Kosovo Albanian institutions due to their disrespect of laws and judicial decisions, as in the case of Visoki Dečani Monastery.
From the international representatives the Diocese will request additional protection from violation of our basic religious and human rights. From the institutions of Serbia, which have been helping us on the regular basis, we expect that the resolution of our problems is addressed at the higher international level.
Gračanica-Prizren, 10 May 2021