Bishop Teodosije: Security situation in Kosovo at the lowest level since March pogrom 2004
(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
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 rehabiliate so easily.