The latest accusations by Nora Weller against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) are compromising interethnic relations in Kosovo and indirectly fostering ethnic and religious intolerance

In her latest interview with Kosovo Radio Television (RTK Live –, Ms. Eleonora Visoka Weller,Doctoral candidate in Herritage management  at Cambridge University, once again made a series of untrue, malicious, and biased statements. These statements not only fail to contribute to the reconciliation of ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohija and the protection of cultural heritage but further escalate ethnic tensions and endanger the security of SOC religious sites.

Weller’s remarks, inherently not warranting attention for their self-evident biased nature, nevertheless require a response. Her positions, popularized by many Kosovo Albanian politicians and certain media outlets, have become a widely accepted narrative in a general campaign against anything associated with the Serbian people and culture in this region. 

Ms. Visoka Weller, originally from Kosovo, questioned the management of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s property in Kosovo and Metohija, demonstrating, despite her Cambridge degree, a lack of understanding of the concept of private property, religious freedoms, and the separation of the Church from state institutions as fundamental postulates of modern democracy. Her statement, which undermines the right to use private property for the self-sustainability of SOC monasteries (agriculture and livestock), reflects the retrograde intention of Kosovo authorities in 2015 to declare all SOC property as “state property of Kosovo”. Under international pressure, the Kosovo authorities then abandoned this draft law reminiscent of communist times in Albania, where the state confiscated all property of churches and religious communities.

In the continuation of the interview, Ms. Weller also posits that the yet unfinished Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Pristina “is not a church” because it lacks historical significance and represents, according to her, “violence from the 90s” merely because it was built during Slobodan Milosevic’s time. This church has been the subject of disputes for years, desecrated, used as a public toilet by passers-by, and currently, the Serbian Orthodox Church is being denied access to this church by Kosovo institutions without any legal basis, even though the church’s land and the structure itself are still registered in the Cadastre as SOC property. With this stance, Weller directly denies SOC property rights and incites violence against religious sites with malicious claims. At the same time, thousands of buildings constructed by Kosovo Albanians during Milosevic’s era have their rights unquestioned. Moreover, it wasn’t the Federal Republic of Yugoslav authorities but the Diocese of Raška-Prizren, along with the faithful—whose numbers in the city of Pristina reached 40,000 before ethnic cleansing, leaving only a few older individuals now—who built this church. Such arbitrary statements by someone who expresses her nationalistic views under the guise of her Cambridge degree speak volumes about Ms. Weller’s academic credibility.

For the sake of objectivity, it should be mentioned that Ms. Weller publicly claimed just a few days ago that the property issue of the Visoki Decani Monastery, which was finally adjudicated by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo in 2016 and remained unexecuted for 8 years, is “part of the legacy of Serbian occupation of Kosovo”, thereby directly questioning the legality of the court decision and thus denying 700 years of history of this SOC monastery –

In recent years, Ms. Weller has publicly denied the endangered status of the Visoki Decani Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site listed as the UNESCO site in danger which due to four armed attacks by local Albanian extremists after the Kosovo war, is under constant protection of KFOR peacekeeping forces and is the only religious site under 24/7 NATO military protection for 25 years. In this context, Weller rudely accused the leading European organisation for cultural heritage protection, EUROPA NOSTRA, in 2021 on social media, of “raising tensions and driving ethnic divisions” by including the Visoki Decani Monastery on the list of the most endangered monuments in Europe –

That same year, Ms. Weller attempted uninvited to impose herself as a participant at the International Cultural Conference in Peć and then accused the conference organizer, ILUCIDARE PLAYGROUND and CULTURAL HERITAGE WITHOUT BORDERS, of “censorship” because she was not allowed to speak uninvited about the Serbian Orthodox Church, clearly due to her well known one-sided and nationalistic views on cultural heritage –

From all that has been said, it is clear that, regardless of her education in archaeology, Ms. Weller neither professionally nor morally represents an objective and well-intentioned expert on cultural heritage related to the Serbian Orthodox Church. Her far from well-meaning positions deeply jeopardise interethnic and religious relations in Kosovo and Metohija and  incite ethnic and religious hatred, which, in the post-war period since 1999, led to the destruction of 150 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija by Kosovo Albanian extremists.

Such unilateral and aggressive viewpoints, disseminated by the public information service RTK and some other Kosovo media outlets, reaffirm the need for comprehensive and effective protection of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s holy sites with strong international guarantees, and where necessary, the protection of KFOR peacekeeping forces.

SOC Diocese of Raška-Prizren 

April 5, 2024