Belgrade daily, May 7, 2002
OF THE SERB HOLY SITES AT EASTER TIME
Belgrade, May 7, 2002
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
of Decani Monastery requested from KFOR a more efficient protection
of the local Serb Orthodox cemetery, it is said in the statement.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.