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The Information Service of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

Gracanica, September 3, 2000

TERRORISTS DESECRATE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND CEMETERY IN MUSNIKOVO

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council learned today that on Friday, September 1, 2000, unknown attackers using a powerful grenade seriously damaged and desecrated the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas (Sv. Nikola) located at the cemetery of the village of Musnikovo in Sredacka Zupa, 15 kilometers south of Prizren. The resulting explosion also damaged and desecrated the Serbian Orthodox cemetary. The roof and interior of the church, which contained valuable icons including a precious icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, were damaged.

The Church of St. Nicholas was built and decorated in the second half of the XVI century and contains valuable icons from the XVII century.

The SNC believes this attack to be tied to the recent return of 58 Serb residents who returned to their homes in Musnikovo after spending a year as refugees. Musnikovo was also visited today by Orthodox priest Ilija Smigic of Prizren who went to assess the damage done and collect information for a report for the archive of the church.

Since the end of the war to the present day Albanian extremists in the Prizren region have destroyed over 20 Orthodox churches of great historical and cultural value. Attacks on Serb cemeteries have recently grown commonplace. Information from Orthodox clergy in Pec, Decani and Prizren is constantly arriving that Albanians are pouring garbage and waste from the cities into Orthodox cemeteries or destroying and desecrating them by demolishing gravestones and crosses marking graves.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the SNC most strongly condemn this barbarian terrorist attack which once again confirms that Albanian extremism in Kosovo is increasingly openly anti-Christian by nature. Such behavior increasingly distances Kosovo from Europe and Western civilization which is based on Christian culture and spirituality and which in this year celebrates its entry into the third millennium.

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