Can we shout loud enough to get this message out into the mainstream? Otherwise, no one else will, esp. the most culpable, USA-NATO. When that duo messes up, they keep quiet about it. They’ve made it a habit of messing up. And, they messed up big time in former Yugoslavia, 1990s onward.
From: Father Nektarios Serfes
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:00 PM
To: Bishop Basil
Press Release: Please share with others…
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, President
Boise, Idaho, USA
The destruction of Serbian Orthodox Tombstones in Kosovo/Metohija & threats to destroy monasteries on the increase daily!
Beloved in our Lord,
May our Gracious God always bless you!
At this time I ask you to please review the attached as of last week to the present hour close to 100 Serbian Orthodox tombstones have been destroyed, and threats of destruction of Serbian Orthodox monasteries has been taken place. Another sad hour for the holy Orthodox Church and faithful around the world!
His Grace, Bishop Teodosje who is the presiding bishop of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren has made an appeal in this regards of the recent wave of violence in the region:
21 January 2013
This morning Bishop Teodosije requested from Prizren a higher level of protection of Serbian Orthodox religious sites and cemeteries and appealed on the international community not to allow the continuation of ethnically and religious motivated violence against the Serbian people. Such attacks, he said do not hurt only the Serbian community but also inflict shame upon the ethnic Albanian people in Kosovo. If Pristina authorities ever want Kosovo Serbs to feel at home in Kosovo the worst strategy is to allow extremist organization to terrorize its citizens of different ethnicity and religion with impunity as it has been so far.
The Diocese expects that Kosovo authorities will strongly and explicitely condemn the violence and prevent its repetition in the following days.
It’s truly important for us all to appeal with Bishop Teodosije that destruction of Serbian Orthodox Tombstones cease at this hour and that the Serb population have the right of burial and respect as do all citizens of the world to be buried and honored.
The idea that persecution against the Serbian Orthodox Church is obvious at this hour especially within the last thirteen years, and this is not the first time Serbian Orthodox Tombstones have been destroyed, and even bodies taken out of their graves! Why even the dead are persecuted!!! Let us cease from this type of violence and begin to realize that it is with love and good will among men that we seek not hatred, not violence, but only to live as free people! Finally let us begin to be conquerors love for one another, and let us help restore that which was destroyed so that we can all once again stand in prayer with loved ones and truly for loved ones in the ground.
In the Orthodox Church especially cemeteries where the reposed are buried are consecrated (considered to be sacred), and the tombstones are blessed by the local parish priest with the blessings of holy water. In addition funeral services are held as well as memorial services are also held on a frequent basis at the grave site.
As crosses might have had been broken, and the sacred tombstone destroyed, but we cannot destroy the soul that lies within its grave for God does so to preserve us all as we all await our judgment before Him.
Let us begin now to be merciful and honor one another is our humble appeal, as well as restore that which was destroyed. Stop the violence and stop the hatred against one another.
Please kindly support the Decani Monastery Relief Fund:
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
C/O Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
Thank you kindly!
Let us pray to the Lord!
Peace to your soul!
God love and bless you!
Humbly in Christ our Lord,
+ Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you and with you!
I have run to the fragrance of your myrrh,
O Christ God, for I have been wounded by your love;
do not part from me, O heavenly Bridegroom.
– “Wounded by Love,” The Life and The Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios
See us at http://facebook.com/orthodoxchurchboise
COMMUNIQUE OF THE DIOCESE ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAST NIGHT’S WAVE OF VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO
Prizren, 21 January 2013
Only a week ago after the vandal attack on the Serbian cemetery in Kosovo Polje near Pristina and the desecration of 50 tombs, Albanian extremists continued their attacks destroying dozens of tombs at 5 Serbian Orthodox cemeteries throughout Kosovo last night (20/21 Jan 2013)
1. KLOKOT: 27 tombstones were damaged in the attack of extremists at the cemetery in Klokot, near Gnjilane. The Police investigation began yesterday evening.
2. PRILUZJE: In the cemetery of the majority Serbian village of Priluzje, municipality Vucitrn, several tombstones were damaged. The largest tomb of the Andjelkovic family was completely devastated by strong explosives at 23.00 hrs last night. The parts of the marble from the tomb can be found on neighboring fields. There is a fear that some other tombs might have been mined too and the normal access to the cemetery is restricted, the local priest confirmed. The Police arrived to the site in the morning.
3. PLEMETINA: At least two tombstones were desecrated last night at the cemetery in Plemetina, Vucitrn Mumicipality
4. MILOSEVO: A chapel was torched last night at the cemetery in Milosevo, Obilic Municipality. Several tombstones are also reported damaged.
5. PRIZREN: 50 tombstones were smashed into pieces or overturned at the Serbian cemetery in Prizren, the local priest confirmed. Kosovo police confirmed the attack on the cemetery.
Beside the vandalism of Kosovo Albanian extremists on Serbian cemeteries last night, an extremist Organization (Albanian National Army – AKSH, which was officially proclaimed a terrorist organization by the UN in 2003) issued an announcement over Facebook to destroy the Serbian Monastery of the Mother of God in Djakovica. A group of a few dozen of members of Vetvendosje and other civilians gathered nearby and tried to get closer to the church. Kosovo police in presence of KFOR prevented access to the Church. Currently, in the Monastery there are 4 elderly Serbian women (two nuns and two novices). The church compound was completely destroyed by Albanian extremists in 2004. The church and the parish home have been reconstructed in the meantime and placed under constant police protection. No other Serb residents in Djakovica live since 1999. During the last Christmas a group of Vetvendosje activists organized protest with an attempt to prevent arrival of Serb pilgrims to the church (January 6). Among other news it is important to mention an attack on the Serb municipal building in Mitrovica North. The building which is situated in an ethnically mixed neighborhood was targeted last night by two Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt in the attack.
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren strongly condemns the latest wave of violence which reminds of the March 2004 riots in Kosovo when 34 churches were torched in two nights. As then, the attacks were cowardly and directed primarily against the cemeteries and Church sites. The last night’s events in Kosovo show that not much has essentially changed since 2004 and that there is a still very strong potential for ethnically and religiously motivated violence which is being orchestrated by extreme organizations under the pretense of pan-Albanian patriotism. As the Council of Europe is discussing the human rights situation in Kosovo these days there is a hope that the plight of Serbs and their cemeteries and other holy sites will be considered as well. A society in which extremist groups systematically target the holy sites and cemeteries for years cannot see much prosperity. For the current events the excuse cannot be found only in the tensions in Presevo valley because attacks on Serbs and their cemeteries in Kosovo have been repeating for the last 13 years with stronger or lesser intensity.
This morning Bishop Teodosije requested from Prizren a higher level of protection of Serbian Orthodox religious sites and cemeteries and appealed on the international community not to allow the continuation of ethnically and religiously motivated violence against the Serbian people. Such attacks, he said do not hurt only the Serbian community but also inflict shame upon the ethnic Albanian people in Kosovo. If Pristina authorities ever want Kosovo Serbs to feel at home in Kosovo the worst strategy is to allow extremist organization to terrorize its citizens of different ethnicity and religion with impunity as it has been so far
The Diocese expects that Kosovo authorities will strongly and explicitly condemn the violence and prevent its repetition in the following days.
(The enclosed photos are only a part of the damage which was made on our cemeteries last night. Among them is a white marble cross from a tomb of a mother of one of our monks at Decani Monastery)
Memorial at tomb of Jelica Stevanovic
Tomb of Jelica Stevanovic vandalized
A tomb in Prizren several days ago and now, new incidents in Kosovo
The two photos are showing the tomb of Jelica Stevanovic, the mother of Fr. Atanasije Stevanovic from Decani Monastery. Fr. Atanasije and Decani monks visited the Prizren cemetery on January 13 and all tombstones were standing. After a short memorial service they took a photo near the tomb. Last night the tomb of Mrs. Stevanovic was desecrated together with dozens of other Serb tombs in the Prizren cemetery. Compared to other cemeteries which had been attacked by Albanian extremists before this one in Prizren was still intact although quite sad because out of 8.000 pre war Prizren Serbs only 30 of them remain in this city today.
Since our last message we have received some new information which have been confirmed by the Police too.
1. In Suvo Grlo near Srbica (Albanians call it Skenderaj) 6 Serbian tombs were heavily damaged
2. In Vitina, eastern Kosovo Albanian extremists destroyed the WWII Monunent. In WW2 Nazis created a greate Albania in which dozens of thousands of non-Albanians were killed or persecuted (particularly by the infamous SS Skenderbay Division). Destruction of the WWII monument is a very negative symbol to all who fought for the freedom regardless of their ethnicity.
3. In Gorazdevac village a group of Albanians opened fire on a Serb monument in the center of the village. The police has established the checpoint now checking all vehicles entering and leaving this Serbian village
Albanian newspaper KOHA DITORE has confirmed that the extremist group “Albanian National Army” (declared a terrorist organization by the UN in 2003 by UNSRSG Michael Steiner) called openly for the demolition of the Monastery of the Mother of God in Djakovica where 2 Serbian nuns and two elderly women live as only Serbs in this city.
Bishop Teodosije has given a statement in which he said that the sad scenes of broken crosses in Serbian cemeteries are a painful reminder of vandalism that has been continuing in Kosovo particularly in the last 13 years. The Bishop appealed for the restraint, respect of rule of law and order and the continuation of dialogue which is the only way to resolve any problem.
(The interview is published in Blic daily, and some extracts were republished by other agencies)
INTERVIEW OF THE BISHOP OF RASKA AND PRIZREN H.G. TEODOSIJE ON OCCASION OF THE LATEST WAVE OF VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO-METOHIJA
Since the 2004 Pogrom it has never been worse for us in Kosovo
The security situation in Kosovo-Metoija is on the lowest level in the last eight years since the March pogrom 2004, said for Blic Bishop Teodisije of Raska and Prizren.
The Bishop claims that the people constantly call the Diocese and that it is very hard to offer consolation to hundreds families whose tombs have been desecrated in the last few days. When bones of the deceased cannot repose in peace, many ask the question what future awaits them among the people who would not hesitate to desecrate tombs, says Bishop Teodosije
How do you see the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija?
After the latest wave of violence the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija is on the lowest level since the March pogrom 2004. It has been 8 years since that terrible event and we can still see the readiness of one part of the Kosovo Albanian community to commit the worst atrocities, among which is the barbarian desecration of Christian tombs.
How do you assess the latest incidents?
It is a painful feeling indeed when I look at the scenes of broken tombstones and torched crosses. This is regrettably a picture of Kosovo and Metohija 14 years after the war and a warning to Europe which this year celebrates 1700 years of the Milan Edict which provided freedom to Christianity by St. Emperor Constantine. Europe must not allow that after so many centuries the crosses are torched and holy Christian sites and tombs desecrated. These riots have brought pain upon Serbs and all Christians who see these scenes but I must say the civilizational and moral shame to Kosovo Albanians is even greater.
How these last incidents affected your people and clergy?
Our people constantly call us and it is hard to give consolation to hundreds of families whose tombs have been desecrated in the last few days. When bones of the deceased cannot repose in peace, many ask the question what future awaits them among the people who would not hesitate to desecrate tombs. But our people are brave and for centuries they have endured so many injustices that this can only make us stronger. Our clergy is, thank God safe, although 2 nuns and 2 elderly women who live in the Monastery of the Mother of God in Djakovica had a sleepless night while the rioters were only 30 meters away trying to carry on the decision of their leaders and burn this holy site.
Have you been contacted by the international representatives and have they promised some measures to be taken?
All international representatives condemned this violence, particularly Mr. Zbogar, the head of the EU office, KFOR, OSCE and others. In their words I can read the shock with brutal scenes which can be seen on our cemeteries. KFOR and police have increased their presence around their sites and as one can see there is a firm determination not to allow continuation of violence against the Christian sites.
What is the fate of the destroyed tombs, will they be reconstructed?
Kosovo institutions have expressed readiness to allocate some funds for the reconstruction of the damaged cemeteries. The tombs are in private ownership and every family will decide alone how to reconstruct its tomb. It is sad, however, that perpetrators of these acts never see that by destruction they only humiliate themselves, because all what is destroyed we will reconstruct again as we have done so far, but their dignity and honor in front of God and the world they will not be able to rehabilitate so easily.