FOREWORD TO THE PUBLICATION ABOUT THE
DESTROYED AND DESECRATED SERBIAN
ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN KOSOVO
(JUNE - AUGUST 1999)
The peoples of Kosovo and Metohija are passing through the most difficult
days in their history. The ethnic Albanians experienced their days of
suffering, expulsions and death from the immoral and destructive policy
of the Belgrade regime. Now the Serb people are again exposed to suffering,
expulsions and death from the immoral and destructive policy of the
ethnic Albanian nationalists.
The peace forces of KFOR entered Kosovo and Metohija on June 13, 1999
with a goal to guarantee peace and security to all inhabitants of the
province. But only in the last two months since their arrival, more
than 180.000 of Serbs have left or were expelled from their homes. Albanian
extremists killed or abducted several hundreds of people and burned
thousands of Serb homes.
Only in the last two months, in spite of the presence of almost 40.000
elite NATO troops, UN civil administration, numerous humanitarian organizations,
NGO's and hundreds of journalists, more than 40 Serb Orthodox shrines,
churches and monasteries, have been completely razed to the ground or
These acts of vandalism cannot simply be called the acts of individual
and blind revenge. It is becoming more and more evident that there is
a systematic strategy in the background to annihilate once forever all
traces of the Serb and Christian culture in Kosovo and Metohija, and
there are more than 1.400 such sites. Our churches and monasteries are
usually destroyed by miners with military training, and a veil of tacit
conspiracy between the perpetrators and witnesses shrouds all their
actions, often reiterated.
So it happened that the Albanian crowd in Djakovica jubilated during
the night of July 23 after the destruction of one of the most beautiful
new Orthodox cathedrals in Kosovo and Metohija. The leaders of the KLA,
which has the sovereign control of this city and the major part of the
Province, readily denied any responsibility for this event but at the
same time did nothing to prevent further destruction of other Christian
churches, in the middle of Europe and at the end of the 20th century.
So far KFOR has not managed to stop and prevent further destructions
although some of the mined churches are situated only a few hundreds
yards from the neighboring military posts. The investigation has not
shown yet who stands behind such actions. It is hard to believe that
NATO is incapable of carrying out the investigation. On the other hand
a suspicion easily arises that the authorities might not be ready to
push the thing to the very end.
The vague peace, expulsions, murders, ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian
population from Kosovo and Metohija, arson, destruction of the Serb
cultural and religious monuments may be a disturbing evidence that the
international community faces more and more the essential failure of
Why did the world resolutely stand up to stop the mass exodus of Kosovo
Albanians only several months ago but now watches passively and helplessly
the Serbian people and its culture exposed to uncontrolled violence?
Can the world allow one European people and its ancient culture to be
mercilessly destroyed both physically and culturally? How can the cultured
Albanians allow the destruction of the monuments which they themselves
were proud of and which their ancestors often considered as holy? In
the most difficult times they often protected these sites together with
their Serb neighbors and preserved them to this very day.
How can the most valuable monuments of the Medieval Christian Serb art
and architecture be so blatantly endangered? Can civilized Europe and
the world allow the fight for the political rights over the territory
of Kosovo and Metohija to be carried out through the extermination of
any people and the destruction of holy shrines no matter to which religion
The rage of unrestrained violence and hatred must be brought to an end.
The rule of chaos and insanity must be stopped once for ever. Unreasonable
revenge over innocent civilians as well as the vandalism against the
monuments can never be an acceptable way towards the future of both
peoples nor can such methods ever bring the lasting peace in this region.