DESTRUCTION OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN THE ORAHOVAC REGION

Post war destruction in the presence of the German KFOR and UN Mission.

The Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren has recently managed to get the photos of the destroyed churches in Zociste area, near Orahovac, South West of Kosovo. These photos are just a choice from a collection of gathered photo and video material.


Zociste Monastery, 14 century
The Monastery of Holy Cosmas and Damian, 14th century in Zociste village, 7 km. south of Orahovac. The monastery was captured by KLA in 1998 and was freed two months later. Immediately after the end of the war the monastery was looted and destroyed by Albanian extremists. The monks were evacuated only several days before the final destruction of this shirne. Beside the monastery all Serb houses in the village were looted and burned down.

The Church of the Virgin Mary
The Church of the Most Pure Virgin Mary, 1990 (built on the previous site of the Medieval Serb church). The parish church in Zociste village, only a few hundred meters from the monastery. The church was mined in August 1999 by the Albanian extremists. All surrounding Serb houses are completely destroyed.

Holy Cosmas and Damian, icon, 19 century
The icon of the Holy Cosmas and Damian found in the ruins of Zociste Monastery. The holy relics which the monks saved before the destruction were venerated in the area and many Serbs, Albanians and Romas were healed before this icon and the relics. The icon is now preserved in the Prizren cathedral and venerated as a martyred icon. St Cosmas and Damian were Christian Saints from Egypt (4th century) and are known as physicians who never took money from their patients (in Greek Anargyroi)


Holy Saviour Church
The church of the Holy Saviour in Opterusa, 8 km. south from Orahovac, near Zociste, was built in 1993 on the ruins of an old Medieval Serb church. This church was mined by Albanian extremists in summer 1999. All Serb houses in the area were looted
and burned down.

Holy Virgin church, Retimlje, 1997
The church of the Holy Virgin in Retimlje, near Zociste, was mined by the local Albanian extremists in summer 1999. This was one of the recently built churches in the area for the needs of a small Serb community in this village. Around 30 Serbs from this area were kidnapped by KLA rebels in 1998 and have never been found so far. The KLA expelled and destroyed the Serb houses before the end of the war. At the end the church which had previously been vandalized was finally totally destroyed by explosive.