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Condemnation of most recent attacks on Serbian Orthodox Church sites in Kosovo and Metohija

“It is logical for us to pose the question how it is possible to continue the process of restoring the destroyed Orthodox holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija if the Kosovo authorities and members of KFOR are unable to provide adequate protection for the objects being restored,” said Bishop Teodosije.

(KIM Info) His Grace Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, Vice-Chairman of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Kosovo and Metohija Committee and SOC representative in the church restoration process in Kosovo and Metohija today most strong condemned the increasingly frequent acts of vandalism targeting Serbian Orthodox Church sites that were destroyed or damaged during the March riots two years ago and partially restored last year as part of the activity led by the Council of Europe.

“We have information that two days ago several gravestones were destroyed in the Serb cemetery in Urosevac and that windows on the church of the Holy Emperor in the same town have been smashed. According to today’s communiqué from the Kosovo Police Service, on the anniversary of the March 2004 pogrom, members of the police visited the restored Orthodox church in the village of Talinovac near Urosevac last night (March 16) at 10:20 p.m. and saw derogatory slogans. As well, one window on the church was broken,” said Bishop Teodosije in a statement for the KIM Info Service. The bishop is presently on a two week long visit to Washington as a member of the official delegation of the SOC Holy Synod of Bishops.

“After the theft of the roof from the church of Bogorodica Ljevisa, the building of a KLA monument on church land in Djakovica, derogatory graffiti on the church of Christ the Savior in Pristina and other incidents of the same sort, it is logical for us to pose the question how it is possible to continue the process of restoring the destroyed Orthodox holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohija if the Kosovo authorities and members of KFOR are unable to provide adequate protection for the objects being restored,” said Bishop Teodosije. He added, “The Serbian Orthodox Church heartily supported and took part in the restoration process led by the Council of Europe and responsibility lies exclusively with Kosovo institutions, which should provide conditions for the continuation of the process that has begun.”

Bishop Teodosije said that officials in Washington would also be informed of this problem and that upon his return to Kosovo and Metohija he would resolutely demand that UNMIK and KFOR undertake appropriate protective measures.