Yesterday, November 28, 2023, according to the internet portal, a group of individuals, along with the self-proclaimed and fraudulent priest Nikolla Xhufka, a citizen of the Republic of Albania, broke into the Church of St. Archangel Michael in the Kosovo village of Rakitnica/Rakinicë, municipality of Podujevo, to purportedly perform a religious ceremony. This act represents a blatant assault on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), aimed at fostering ethnic and religious hatred and instability in Kosovo. As reported by the portal, this intrusion and misuse of the Serbian church, dating back to the 15th century and later restored, also involved representatives of the Podujevo municipality. The group’s intention, according to the portal, was to declare this church as the “Church of Fan Nolli,” belonging to the illegal and self-proclaimed Albanian National Orthodox Church in Elbasan. (Link of the article

This criminal act represents yet another in a series aimed at usurping the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, effectively “Albanianizing” or “Kosovarizing” our spiritual and cultural heritage. The Raška-Prizren Diocese has been highlighting the process of cultural appropriation of our heritage for years. This latest incident confirms our claims, this time in an undeniable and extremely worrying manner. Such acts underscore the urgent need to protect our cultural and spiritual heritage, primarily from individuals and organisations connected with Kosovan institutions, or those acting with their greater or lesser support.

The Raška-Prizren Diocese of the SOC wishes to inform the public of the following facts:

• Nikolla Xhufka is a citizen of the Republic of Albania from Elbasan and is not an ordained clergyman but falsely presents himself as an Orthodox priest. The canonical Orthodox Church of Albania, which has issued a detailed public statement by the Metropolis of Elbasan, has reported extensively about him. The text in Albanian is available on the Facebook page of the Orthodox Church of Albania.

Reaction of the Orthodox Church of Albania



A Necessary Clarification for Public Opinion.


“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15


• Nikolla (Bllazhde) Xhufka is not an Orthodox cleric and is not recognised as such by any Christian Church in any country. He claims to have been ordained by a Serbian-Romanian individual, who has no connection with the Orthodox Church and is not a cleric. This is simply a deception of public opinion.

• Nikolla represents only himself; he has neither a church nor a community of believers, despite his grandiose statements occasionally made in the media.

• He has improvised what he calls a “church” in the basement of his house, openly deceiving even the media by claiming it to be a “Paleo-Christian catacomb church.”

• He blatantly lies and misleads in the media that he has completed religious studies, while he has done nothing of the sort. To be precise, he completed a vocational high school for food technology in Elbasan, even repeating his final year.

• He makes “patriotic” statements, while simultaneously ridiculing and belittling Albanian Orthodox clerics, also jeopardizing and mocking the seriousness of religious leaders and clergy of other faiths.

• His lack of religious education means his media statements regarding the Orthodox faith are incorrect and misleading. This individual is not accountable to any ecclesiastical authority and is not responsible for his actions.

• His only interest is media exposure and attracting public attention, regardless of the harm it does to the dignity of the clerical office and the Orthodox faith.

• His irresponsible media statements, under the guise of religious authority, cause dissatisfaction, inciting rivalry among religious faiths, a lack of mutual respect, and consequently, interfaith hatred.

• We view his media portrayal with concern. Gathering preliminary information from the media about an individual who belongs to no religious community, has no authorisation, lacks appropriate training, and represents no one but himself should make it clear why he does not deserve to be taken seriously.

• The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania is the only spiritual and official authority that guarantees the preservation and promotion of doctrinal and church principles, guided by its legitimate bodies in accordance with its statutes and church canons. Any attempt, past or present, to undermine the role and contribution of the Orthodox Church in Albania will fail with the grace and help of God.

The Holy Metropolis of Elbasan, Shpat, and Librazhd.

Elbasan, November 16, 2022.


• Rakitnica/Rakinicë was once a Serbian inhabited village, but the last Serbian families moved out after the Serbian-Turkish War of 1878. The village preserves an old church dedicated to St. Archangel Michael. The Albanians in the village call it “Kisha Lazërit” – Lazar’s Church, as legend has it that the body of Serbian Prince Lazar rested there overnight after the Battle of Kosovo, while being transported from Pristina to the Ravanica Monastery. Based on architectural and stylistic features, the church was built in the 14th or 15th century, first renovated in the 16th century, and again in 1936. In the village, there are also remnants of an old Serbian cemetery. The church occasionally held services until the remaining Serbian population in the surrounding villages and Podujevo was expelled by the KLA in 1999. Several churches in the Podujevo municipality have been ruined, notably the church of St. Apostle Andrew, which was brutally burned in 2004, as evidenced by video footage of the breaking of crosses and burning of the church. The church has been repaired but, due to poor security conditions, Serbs originally from this area are reluctant to return. The Raška-Prizren Diocese, after the war in 1999, found that several Serbian Orthodox cemeteries in the surrounding villages had been devastated. The Church of St. Archangel Michael in Rakitnica, with minor damages, survived because it was respected by the older Albanians who preserved the tradition that the body of St. Prince Lazar rested there after the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

• The Serbian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Albania are two sister autocephalous Churches with their own jurisdictions and enjoy exceptionally good and brotherly relations. Orthodox believers from Albania often visit our holy sites in Kosovo, and on several occasions have served in the Albanian language with our priests and monks.

Due to the violent break-in and misuse of the Serbian Orthodox Church property in the village of Rakitnica, the Raška-Prizren Diocese will file a criminal complaint against Nikolla Xhufka and seek investigation from the police regarding the involvement of representatives of the municipality of Podujevo in this criminal act.


Raška-Prizren Diocese, SOC

November 29, 2023.