Visit of the Diplomatic Corps to Visoki Dečani Monastery
Today, we had the distinct honor of welcoming thirty international heads of mission, ambassadors, and other diplomats accredited in Kosovo to the Visoki Dečani Monastery. The immediate occasion for this gathering was to reaffirm strong international support for the implementation of the 2016 Kosovo Constitutional Court's decision concerning the land of the Dečani Monastery, a ruling that has still not been enforced by Kosovo authorities. This court ruling was decisively supported by the Quint countries' ambassadors as well as by the heads of mission of the EU and OSCE a few days ago, on its 7th-year anniversary. Furthermore, this gathering served as an opportunity to express strong support for the rule of law and respect for religious freedom for all communities in Kosovo.
Fr. Sava Janjić, the abbot of the Dečani Monastery, welcomed the guests and extended special greetings on behalf of Bishop Teodosije. After a brief tour of the church and a photo session in front of the 14th-century Monastery church, the guests convened in the conference room for an hour-long discussion.
Expressing profound gratitude for their visit and support, Fr. Sava briefed the diplomats on the principal challenges the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo is facing and outlined our vision for the way forward. The head of the EU Mission in Kosovo, Mr. Szunyag, the US Ambassador Mr. Hovenier, the Head of the OSCE Mission Amb. Davenport, the German Ambassador Mr. Rohde, the Head of the UN Mission in Kosovo Mrs. Ziadeh, COMKFOR Gen. Ristucia, and other diplomats actively participated in the discussions.
Fr. Sava answered questions and clarified the Serbian Orthodox Church's perspective on its future and the long-term formalization of its legal status. He emphasized the importance of protecting our people, safeguarding their human rights, and preserving the holy sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He stated that resolving the legal challenges of the Serbian Orthodox Church could significantly contribute to promoting multiethnicity and tolerance in Kosovo, benefiting all communities and aiding the continuation of dialogue.
After the discussion, the Dečani monks hosted a luncheon for all visitors in the Monastery refectory. This event indeed provided an opportunity to openly exchange opinions, discuss a range of issues, and primarily to strengthen ties between our Church and the international diplomatic community accredited in Pristina.
In conclusion, Fr. Sava expressed his gratitude to all visitors for their understanding and their collective effort to visit the Monastery. He expressed hope that this event would linger in our memories primarily as a friendly gathering in one of the most important religious and cultural heritage sites in Kosovo.