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Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Sava in Mitrovica Destroyed by Fire

Destruction of Christian culture is continued in Kosovo and Metohija
despite 40.000 NATO troops

St. Sava's church in Mitrovica before the fire. A Greek soldier guarding the Serbian church situated in an Albanian quarter of the city

Information Service of the Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Mitrovica, February 17, 2002

On Saturday evening (Feb 16, 2002) larger part of the Serbian Orthodox church of St. Sava in Mitrovica got burned in a fire which began at 21.00. This is the only Serbian Orthodox church in this nort Kosovo city and is situated in a southern, Albanian, part of Mitrovica. Three Serb priests and their families are only Serb inhabitants of this little ghetto which is guarded by Greek KFOR troops.

The fire was extinguished before midnight thanks to the efforts of the Greek KFOR. In the morning the French general Christian Damais visited the severely damaged church which was built in 1896 and expressed his regret to the priests and their parishioners. The front part of the church was completely burned and the roof is badly damaged.

During the day (Sunday, Feb 17) the delegation of the Serb National Council of Mitrovica visited the church of St. Sava. The President of the Council Dr. Milan Ivanovic said in his statement that "all evidence said that this was an attack on the church and that the fire was set intentionally". UNMIK speaker in Mitrovica Gjorgjy Kakuk on the other hand claimed that the fire broke out accidentaly due to "either electric instalation failure or candles". He pointed out n his statement that the church is under constant guard of Greek KFOR and that it was impossible for anyone to enter the church unnoticed.

The priests of the St. Sava church say that since 18.00 Saturday they did not have electric power at all (due to regular power shortage) and that no candles or vigil lights were lit in the church. They strongly rejected any possibility that this was an accident and claimed that the fire had been set by unidentified attackers.

More than 100 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo have been either destroyed or severely damaged by Kosovo Albanian extremists since June 1999 and the end of the war. Many Serbs believe that Albanian extremists are responsible for this attack as well because Mitrovica has been one of the most volatile flashpoints of conflict between Moslem Albanians and Christian Orthodox Serbs.

"If it is absolutely certain and clear that terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija have thus far razed and burned 108 Orthodox churches and monasteries, why then would there be any difference with this, the 109th case. Those desiring to cover up terror committed against the Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija have to put forth stronger evidence to convince us that it was merely carelessness, forgotten lit candles, or malfunctioned installations. The clergy ascertain that on that day there was no service, candles were not lit, and also that there was no electricity that evening in the entire block surrounding the church" – reported His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren to the Information Service of Serbian Orthodox Church regarding the fire in St. Sava's church in Mitrovica.

Burned holy icons in the Serb church in Mitrovica

Read an article about the life of the tiny Serb community around the St. Sava's church in Mitrovica: Reporter (BL): A Jardful of Serbs, Feb. 20, 2001

Vandalized Serb Orthodox cemetery in South Mitrovica, Feb 2002
Can this be qualified as an accident by the UNMIK spokesperson?

One Year After the Bus Massacre

"It would be a great consolation if the perpetrators of this terrorist attack were found and brought to justice", Bishop Artemije said.

One year after the bus massacre in which Albanian terrorists killed 11 and wounded more than 40 Serb civilians (mostly elderly and women) Bishop Artemije served a memorial service in Gracanica monastery. Beside many priests, monks and the faithful people Mr. Nebojsa Covic, the Serbian vice president from Belgrade attended the ceremony. MORE

Kosovo - Columbia of Europe under the UN protectorate

Who is destroying European children with narcotics?

"The rebels in Macedonia, former KLA freedom fighters in Kosovo, and extremist Albanians in southern Serbia are all part of the network of Albanian and Kosovar Albanian families who control criminal networks in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and elsewhere," said a Western intelligence official in the province.

Drugs for Arms - Albanian extremists operate it seems almost unhindered
by 40.000 NATO troops and UN police

The truth of Kosovo Albanian UCK/KLA terrorists, which were presented in western media as freedom fighters during the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia, more and more fills the international press pages now. While their supporters riot for days throught Kosovo cities protesting the arrest of two KLA commanders accused of war crimes against their own, Albanian people, Daily Telegraph presents a story of how the Albanian extremists buy millions of punds worth of weapons with the proceeds of heroin smuggling from Afghanistan to the streets of a dozen European capitals.

Rebels spend drug millions on guns
By Christian Jennings in Skopje, Feb 16, 2002

Read more on Kosovo Liberation Army

Serb political and religious leaders calls for reconciliation and respect of
human rights for all citizens in Kosovo

We ask nothing more than free and dignified life for our people?

Dr. Rada Trajkovic (a surgeon and a Serb political leader) and Bishop Artemije

IWPR Comment: Reconciling in Kosovo, Feb 1, 2002

A moderate approach of the Serb political leader in Kosovo, Dr. Rada Trajkovic
Dr. Trajkovic is a leader of the Serb coalition "Povratak" and enjoys full moral and political support of Bishop Artemije, the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Kosovo and Metohija

First human rights and dignified life and only then the question of status...

The most important priority in Kosovo Region is to ensure proper institutions of the civil society, peace and dignity for all citizens regardless of their ethnicity. Only when true progress has been made in this field Kosovo final status may be addressed. Any discussion on the Kosovo final status, especially the idea of independence of Kosovo in the situation of gross violations of minority human rights by the Albanian population would be a serious mistake which would turn the province into a major factor of instability for the SE Europe.

Continuation of terrorist attacks, rule of mafia and former KLA millitants, destruction of Serb Christian monuments as well as absence of basic freedom of movement for the most of non-Albanian population shows that Kosovo Albanian political leaders have not managed to offer any model of society different to the rule of Milosevic. By doing so they essentially fail to understand the new processes in Europe. It is only thanks to the international presence that any of non-Albanian communities survive in the province and without the NATO military presence the entire region would be ignited again in war and bloodshed. Unreadiness of Albanian leaders to establish basic conditions for Serbs and other non-Albanians to live in the province a dignified life shows that Kosovo province must remain under a long term international protectorate.

One can hardly speak of any true political progress in the province when even Albanians themselves cannot find concensus over the president and the prime minister nominations. It is true that the number of attacks against Serbs has decreased but many fail to understand that this is the result of total isolation of Serbs who are almost hermetically separated from Albanians in KFOR protected enclaves. Despite Serb open participation in elections and their readiness to support UN sponosred autonomy of Kosovo within FRY, so far no real improvement of life for ordinary Kosovo Serbs has been seen.

Bishop Artemije
SNC Information Service, Feb 2001

Albanian nationalism and extremism on rise...
While all former Yugoslav territories progress towards democracy and leave the nationalistic past Kosovo Albanians experience the renaiscance of most intolerant nationalsism

Ethnic Albanians in Pristina protesting against arrest of three leading former KLA
officers suspected by UN police and KFOR for war crimes in Kosovo, Feb 1, 2002

Ethnic Albanian extremism and Islamic fundamentalism remain the most dangerous factors of instability for SE Europe - Kosovo is still a region with the highest level of human rights violations and criminal activity in Europe and the only place in Europe where Christian churches and cemeteries are being desecrated with impunity

Orthodox Church in Albania protests against desecration of their churches

Orthodox church protests against desecration of their churches Feb 1, 2002

TIRANA, Albania (AP) The Albanian Orthodox Church protested Thursday against the desecration of an Orthodox church in southern Albania, complaining about an expression of ``religious hatered.''
The church is located in the village of Dervican, near Gjirokastra, 145 kilometers (90 miles) south of Tirana, where the population is mostly ethnic Greek.
A church statement said that the door and windows of the church had been broken, while objects of the tabernacle and the book of the gospel had been set on fire.
Over 60 percent of Albanians are Muslims, the rest being Orthodox and Catholic.
Religion had been banned in the country for almost 50 years during the communist regime which ended in 1992 when the first democratic government took over.
Since then the three religions have started building new mosques and churches all over Albania to replace hundreds of places of worship demolished under communism.
Protesting against the vandalizing of the church, the statement said such acts had become more frequent after an Iraqi Mufti serving in the same area for the Muslim population had been expelled as an undesirable person in 1999.
It listed several incidents in which churches had been robbed, set on fire or damaged, including a robbery in January when all the icons were stolen at another church in the same location.
Since 1998, Albania has expelled dozens of Arabs living in the country for fear they were involved in terrorist activities.
``We express our concern and protest over such acts which threaten to harm inter-religion harmony,'' said the statement.

DPA, Former UCK Militia Arrested on Suspicion of War Crimes, Jan 29, 02
DPA, KFOR Seize Weapons, Arrest Three on Kosovo-Albania Border, Jan 30, 02

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