EASTER IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

A.D. 2002


Bishop Artemije chanting "Christ is risen" in front of Gracanica Monastery
Church, Easter midnight service 4/5 May, 2002

Consecration of the Monastery of St. George at Ras
Djurdjevi Stupovi



Exactly 313 years after the destruction by Ottoman Turks the Monastery of St. George at Ras (Djurdjevi Stupovi) was reconsecrated on May 6, 2002. Bishops Artemije and Joanikije presided the Holy Liturgy in the presence of thousands of faithful from all parts of Serbia. At the moment a monastic brotherhood of 6 monks lives in the monastery under the spiritual guidance of Abbot Peter.

Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery was founded by Grand zupan Stefan Nemanja in the year 1170/1, as a symbol of gratitude to Saint George for the help in one battle.

Djurdjevi Stupovi Web Page


Kosovo Serb children at the Easter Liturgy in Gracanica Monastery

SERB ORTHODOX NUNS AND MONKS STONED BY ALBANIAN MOB IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

Pec, May 7, 2002

In the early morning hours today, just after the midnight, unidentified Kosovo Albanians attacked by rocks a car with the nuns from the Patriarchate of Pec Monastery while they were entering the territory of Kosovo and Metohija from Rozaje (at Kulina Pass). The nuns in their kombi-van and the monks from Decani Monastery in their car were returning to Kosovo from the church celebration at Djurdjevi Stupovi, near Novi Pazar. Immediately after they passed the administrative boundary of the Province and were heading to the location where they were supposed to meet with the Italian KFOR vehicles which would escort them to their monasteries, they were stopped by a group of Kosovo Albanians which were unloading things from a large truck. The mob began throwing rocks at the cars in which were monks and nuns. The vehicle of the Patriarchate of Pec luckily suffered only minor damage and the life of the passengers was not endangered because both vehicles sped off to the point where Italian transporters were waiting for them. Nevertheless the nuns suffered a shock and fear.

After the stoning of the Monastery of Pec Patriarchate on the Orthodox Good Friday (May 3rd) this is another incident in which the nuns of this monastery were targeted.

Information service of the
Diocese of Raska and Prizren



Serb children after the Easter service at St. George's Monastery
near Novi Pazar

DANAS
Belgrade daily, May 7, 2002

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DESECRATIONS OF THE SERB HOLY SITES AT EASTER TIME

Pristina, Belgrade, May 7, 2002

The chief of the UN Mission in Kosovo Micheal Steiner, COMKFOR Gen. Marcel Valenten and the Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi attended the Easter Liturgy at the Patriarchate of Pec Serbian Orthodox Monastery on Sunday morning. Rexhepi is the first higher ethnic Albanian official from Kosovo who attended an Orthodox Easter Liturgy in Kosovo after the war.

The Kosovo PM spoke Serbian at the Patriarchate and sent his Easter greetings to all Orthodox Christians on Saturday evening. He said to the BBC program in Serbian that his visit to the Patriarchate did not have a political character.

However, the Serbian Orthodox Church said that the Easter visit of the Kosovo PM Bajram Rexhepi to the Patriarchate of Pec, in company of the highest representatives of UNMIK and KFOR, "in essence proves that there is a serious discrepancy between official statements and gestures by the Kosovo Albanian leaders on one side and the behavior of the local Albanian population on the other". Just before the Easter several Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo had been desecrated by ethnic Albanians.

The chief of the Yugoslav Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija, Nebojsa Covic said that the visit of Steiner, Valenten and Rexhepi to the Patriarchate of Pec and attending the Easter Liturgy was a positive gesture. He added that "this event shows that the international community is educating Kosovo Albanian leaders and is directing them towards the dialog". In his statement to BETA agency, however, Covic strongly condemned desecrations of the Serb Orthodox holy sites in Kosovo and rather indolent behavior of the international representatives towards this issue.

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren said that just before the Easter there were several new provocations and desecrations of the Christian Orthodox holy sites in Kosovo and Metohija. In the statement by the Diocesan Information Service it is said that the damage was recorded at the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Decani. "During their visit to the cemetery on the Easter day, the monks of Decani Monastery could see that additional tombs had been damaged and that the ground around some tombs was disturbed", it is said in the statement which also specifies that the cemetery is located only a few dozen of meters from the local Italian KFOR checkpoint, in the very vicinity of the Visoki Decani Monastery.

The brotherhood of Decani Monastery requested from KFOR a more efficient protection of the local Serb Orthodox cemetery, it is said in the statement.

The Diocese also reported that during the Holy Week, which precedes the Easter, the communal Serb Orthodox cemetery at Piskote near Djakovica had been desecrated too. From many tombs the marble tombstones were taken away "most probably to be resold, while crosses and inscriptions were broken". From the cemetery church of St. Prince Lazar, which is one of the most beautiful Orthodox churches in this area built before the war, a part of the roof was reportedly removed. This attack on the cemetery in Djakovica happened after the Italian soldiers had removed a fixed check-point from the church; it is said in the statement. The Diocese added that the KFOR representatives did not immediately inform the Serb representatives and the Serb Orthodox Church and that the information eventually came to the Church only indirectly from the KFOR. According to the latest information the Italian soldiers reinstalled their check point in front of the church at Piskote, the statement says.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren also reminded that there were attempts to obstruct the traditional Easter procession at Suvo Grlo, near Istok because the local ethnic Albanians farmers had usurped the church property. From Devic monastery the Diocese has recently received information that usual verbal provocations against the nuns were intensified with shouts "It is a high time for you to leave". These are only additional provocations in the series of many post-war provocations against the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija. The Church statement says that the continuation of the vandal behavior towards the Orthodox holy sites and cemeteries is the best evidence that the position of a large number of Kosovo Albanian population towards the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija has regrettably not changed to the better. (BETA)


Scenario worked out in Hitlers's "Mein Kampf"

The chief of the Federal Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija Nebojsa Covic strongly condemned desecration of the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Djakovica which occurred almost at the same time when Steiner, Valenten and Rexhepi visited the neighboring Monastery of Pec Patriarchate.

This method of terrorizing the dead is unfortunately not unknown to the history. This was one of the methods used by German Nazis and was worked out in (Hitler's) Mein Kampf where it is clearly stated: "The people to which you destroy cemeteries will surely disappear in the second generation", Covic said.

He also expressed his grave concern that this campaign of desecrations has seriously progressed and requested from UNMIK and KFOR as well as from the Transitional Kosovo Government "to take urgent measures and turn their words into concrete actions, because there has been enough of empty talk".

No one can make us believe that the soldiers who took part in the weapons search in the Serbian villages of Lipljan area did not know that this was Easter time. I doubt that they would do the same during their religious holidays. This is definitely an additional pressure on the Serb ethnic community, Covic concluded in his statement to BETA.


Easter in Lipljan Serb Orthodox Church
under a heavy KFOR protection