The Diocese appeals on peace and respect of the rule of law after most recent series of security incidents in Kosovo and Metohija


regarding a series of incidents in the recent days

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raška-Prizren strongly condemns the latest series of incidents which indicate that there is a serious deterioration of the security situation in which Serbs with their Orthodox Church live in Kosovo and Metohija.
Three days ago dozens of Kosovo Albanians attacked a group of Serb pilgrims while they were visiting the ruins of the Holy Trinity church in the village of Petrič near Klina and performing the Pentecost procession around the site. In a serious incident the attackers despite the massive police presence attacked the pilgrims by stones and injured three Serbs.
Yesterday in Staro Gracko village nr. Lipljan a Serb woman and her 6 months old baby were injured in an incident provoked by a Kosovo Albanian. Also a group of local Albanians near Žač, Klina Municipality, intercepted the vehicle of the local Serbian Orthodox priest Fr. Stevan Marković who was returning with his family from the service at Peć Patriarchate Monastery. They first blocked the road and then when a larger group gathered began hitting the car and broke the windshield. Both 5 year old twins of the priest and his wife suffered a shock in an incident especially when one of the local attackers threatened to bring the weapons. The attackers belong to a Kelmendi clan which took part in attacks on local Serbs in this area before. Fr. Stevan had a meeting with the British Ambassador Ruairi O’Connel after the incident and told him what had just happened and informed him about the incident at the Petrič church where he was attacked with his parishioners.
Last night there was an attack on a local clinic in the Serbian returnee village of Novake near Prizren. The attackers broke the door and destroyed the most of the documentation they found in the clinic. The attack was reported to the police but, as usual, the results of investigation are not expected.
As the current Dečani mayor in a same way as his predecessor continue to obstruct the Kosovo Constitutional Court decision regarding the property of Visoki Dečani Monastery, and the attempts continue to turn a local rural road passing near the Monastery into an international highway to Montenegro, the most recent security incidents show that the security situation for Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is deteriorating intensively. The statements of the Dečani mayor and the Minister of Infrastructure against the Serbian Orthodox Church are inflammatory and irresponsible and worsen already bad security situation in this Municipality.
The Diocese of Raška-Prizren calls upon all local institutions in Kosovo and Metohija to respect the existing laws and prevent further escalation of ethnically motivated attacks and intolerance. Violations of religious rights, especially those of Orthodox Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija has been documented in the recently published annual State Department report on religious freedom where it is clearly mentioned that there are obstructions of access to all religous sights and frequent violation of the existing laws regulating the rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church and non-majority communities in the region.
The Diocese also appeals on international representatives and institutions to do all what is in their power to prevent the continuation of the ethnically motivated violence and provide normal and safe life to the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija.
Diocese of Raška and Prizren
Prizren-Gračanica, 31 May 2018