Annihilation of Djakovica Church and the promotion of independent Kosovo

July 24, 2008.

Source: Diocese of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija

Annihilation of Djakovica Church
and the promotion of independent Kosovo

In the last few days two texts appeared on the Serbian Orthodox Church Synod web presentation. The texts were inspired by the latest Albanian acts, perpetrated with the goal of further annihilation of the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija.

The spiritual and cultural genocide against the Serb people and Serb heritage, actively carried out by Albanians since 1999, vehemently reappeared in the last few days by the repeated attack on the remnants of Holy Trinity Church in Djakovica. After blowing the church up in 1999, and carrying away the church remains in March 2004, by the end of December 2005 UCK monument was erected on that place, and then, in autumn of the last year construction machines carried out further clearing away. Few days ago, there was an attempt to erase all the traces of existence of this temple, and, according to knowledge of our Diocese, the construction machines removed the foundations and started filling the place up with earth, intending to create a park on the same spot. The Diocese immediately passed information to vicar Bishop Teodosije Sibalic, instructing him to look into the case.

The texts, published on Serbian Orthodox Church web presentation, written exactly by vicar Bishop Teodosije and monk Sava Janjic from Decani, provoke horror and disbelief by messages they carry, which, in a perfidious and cunning way, in the form of care for the destroyed Serb heritage, are propagated to the Serb people.

Additionally, one is worried by a fact that those texts are propagated and promoted through the official SOC web site! Will the SOC Holy Synod be again the promoter and inciter of promoting and recognizing lawless and anti-Serbian, as well as false this time, Albanian institutions, leading us thus directly into recognizing independent Kosovo? As it was already the case, not so long ago, in the beginning of 2005, when Memorandum on the reconstruction of churches was signed with a minister of Albanian interim institutions of self-government, the exact institutions which were recognized as legitimate and existing neither by the Serbian state nor by the Serbian Church, at the time of their establishment (having in mind that both the Church and the State called upon the Serbs not to participate in the elections in Kosovo and Metohija in October 2004, and to boycott the institutions which would be established according to those election; such a fact was unanimously accepted by the Serbs, hence only 0,3% of the Serbs went to vote). But only a few months after the publicly proclaimed non-recognition of the elections, and the institutions founded upon their results, some SOC dignitaries have trampled down their word and for the first recognized these institutions by their support to signing the Memorandum on the reconstruction with minister Astrit Haraqija (against whom, by the way, even ICTY last year brought an indictment), creating thus a schizophrenic situation, dividing in halves the Serb people.

At the same time as the aforementioned texts were presented to the public, another letter was sent to the Diocese, in form of a report, signed by the vicar Bishop Teodosije Sibalic. This letter in no way, in its content and the relevant messages, dissents from the two text published on the SOC Synod web presentation

What appalls is the readiness of the authors of the two mentioned texts to accept, recognize and give legitimacy to the illegal and unlawful Albanian institutions, created after the attempt of violent separation of part of Serbia’s territory, by lawless proclamation of Kosovo and Metohija independence on February 17th 2008.

In the text long only a few pages, the vicar Bishop Teodosije Sibalic and S. Janjic, speaking of functioning of this lawless creation named “independent Kosovo”, in numerous occasions use the terms “new Kosovo institutions”, “local Kosovo institutions”, “new Kosovo authorities”, “Kosovo officials”, “official institutions of the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo”. Bishop Teodosije Sibalic restrains not to speak of “official position of the newly-proclaimed Government of Kosovo”, expressing his doubt in the “declarative readiness of the Government to support the continuation of the destroyed Serb sanctuaries” and declaring (justifying hence, maybe, proved war criminal Hashim Thaqi !?) that “the Government of Kosovo does not have control over its municipal institutions”!

Until the independence declaration on February 17th, the Albanian institutions had an official name – Interim institutions of the self-government (not comprising in its name even the determinative of ethnicity, not to mention the territory), and now Teodosije Sibalic and S. Janjic give them the title “Kosovo institutions”! Giving them a name that has a territorial character, they directly indicate on Kosovo separated from Serbia, on a separate state. Also, the name “new institutions” almost imperceptibly suggests their legitimacy and validity, while, on the other hand, on can find in the texts of the two authors not a single word or expression indicating that those institutions are unrecognized, lawless, illegal, inexistent, anti-Serbian, false…

It is hard to mention all the means and stylistic figures by which the authors suggest and indicate on legitimacy of the Albanian unlawful institutions, regarding that only on a few pages they make it some 40 times, but it is not impossible to mention the following cases.

Thus, S. Janjic boldly declares that the “Djakovica municipality has full and legitimate right to dispute the ownership of the Serbian Orthodox Church”, stressing that there are “courts and legal processes for that, where the other party would be enabled to protect its rights”!

Where from did “Djakovica municipality” get this “full and legitimate right to dispute the ownership of the Serbian Orthodox Church”? Who, besides S. Janjic and Teodosije Sibalic gave it this right? This fact, unfortunately, is well known. And then the claims that on the courts of independent Kosovo it is enabled to the SOC to “protect its rights”!? What is the goal of such claims? It seems, the narcotization of the self-awareness of the Serbian people, gradually getting it used to the “new reality” of the independent Kosovo.

Accordingly, Teodosije Sibalic, speaking with respect about “the president of Djakovica Municipality” and about his letter and promises, does not miss an opportunity to promote him to “mayor”!

In the spirit of all the things said above, one can easily understand the indignation both authors express a few times, since “the president of Djakovica municipality” started carrying out the works “without prior consent of the owner”, “without owner’s permission”, “with no consultation with the land proprietor”, “without consultation with the Church”, as well as that after their intervention “the municipality president emphasized that municipality will take no further activity without coordination with RIC and SOC”. The authors would have, accordingly, after they had given legitimacy to Djakovica municipality, equally discussed with it the planned-to-be activities.

Nothing less surprising is the vocabulary used to describe latest activities intended to systematically annihilate everything Serbian in Kosovo and Metohija.

Thus, the expressions: “unpermitted works”, “unlawful works”, “unauthorized works”, “the illegal work”, “the arbitrariness of the local bosses”, “violation of legality”, “institutional repression”, “usurpation of Church land”, “violation of property rights” and, of course, “violation of Memorandum”.

Which ”violation of legality” or “institutional repression” can we talk of, without mentioning and without asking that are brought to justice the criminals who perpetrated crimes against Holy Trinity Church since 1999, especially regarding the fact that the perpetrators are not unknown, and that, furthermore, the crimes were organized and incited by the then local authorities of the Interim institutions of the self-government? If one recognizes nowadays’ Djakovica municipality as legitimate and, accordingly, advocates “the protection of your rights” at Albanian courts, why doesn’t he, firstly, demand justice fulfillment for so many crimes perpetrated in Djakovica (and Kosovo and Metohija wide) since 1999 until today?

It is an impressing effort both authors take to create in Serb public the impression that the church foundations are “preserved” and “only” covered by layer of soil. There is even a statement that Teodosije Sibalic “could rested assured that the church foundations are covered by one meter high layer of earth”. The question remains, how could the vicar Bishop have “rested assured” that “church foundations are covered” when he didn’t even see them. One must, accordingly, bear in mind, that the Diocese had previously been informed that the church foundations were removed before the soil was brought, and that the information was presented to Teodosije Sibalic, too.

Was he “assured” only by the statement from “Djakovica municipal president”, who “specially emphasized that the municipal authorities did not touch the church foundations”? How come such a trust, having in mind that the same “municipal president” also “emphasized that municipality will take no further activity without coordination with RIC and SOC”, and just “the next day, monks of Visoki Decani Monastery” visited the site in Djakovica, where they could witness that the works are in full progress”!

At the end of his text, vicar Bishop Teodosije Sibalic emphasized that by the latest event in Djakovica, further implementation of Memorandum is in jeopardy, indicating the responsibilities of “Kosovo authorities, which have, so far, been giving their contribution to the process”. What else but incredulity can incite such statements by Teodosije Sibalic, when we know the character of the real “contribution” given by “Kosovo authorities”: they gave it in their attempt to rename the Serbian cultural heritage in “Kosovo”, “Illyrian” and “Byzantine”, they abolished the adjective “Serb” when publishing booklets which presented Serbian foundations from Nemanjic period as “Albanian”; they took enormous pains in order to stop beginning of the reconstruction of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren and Holy Trinity Church in Djakovica (with what, unfortunately, Teodosije Sibalic, as member of Reconstruction implementation commission (RIC) agreed for years, and thus enabled the prolongation to start the reconstruction, as well as further devastation of objects and sites). Their contribution was, also, in their tendencies to proclaim Holy Archangels Monastery an archaeological locality and to move out the monastic brotherhood; in non-doing the indispensable to stop the destruction and lootings of the Serb churches; in inciting the local Albanian population to perpetrate violence against the sanctuaries of the Serb people. This list is too long and too vast.

In this prism, especially concerning is the statement by Teodosije Sibalic that UNMIK “since recently” participates in the work of RIC “on behalf of Kosovo institutions”, as well as the fact that in the beginning of June, first RIC session in 2008 was held, with participation, among others, of Ministry of Culture and UNMIK.

Question arouses, and it, in grave seriousness, needs an answer, how could Teodosije Sibalic, against the order of the Diocesan Bishop of Raska-Prizren, Artemije and against the decision of Bishops’ Council of SOC, continue participation in RIC where, UNMIK participates “in the name of Kosovo institutions”, and “Kosovo institutions” themselves?

Someone might even be surprised by such attitudes coming from Teodosije Sibalic. But, the connoisseurs who even a little more know of his attitudes and work so far, are not ignorant of him coming out even before in such spirit. We will mention only a few cases.

Some of the clichés used before the 17th of February 2008: “regardless the status”, “I am Kosovo citizen”… were abundantly used especially during USA visit, as part of Synod delegation:

“Whatever the status will be, serious problems will still exist”;

“The question of independence of Kosovo for an average Serb in Kosovo and Metohija is not so much a question of national pride, but question of basic existence – how to stay and survive in the society where for years there has been non essential progress”;

“I am deeply aware that our future as citizens of Kosovo is exactly in Kosovo and Metohija, regardless its future status and flag colour”;

“I utter these word not only as a Serb, but as a worrying citizen of Kosovo and Metohija”;

Particularly horrifying is the statement that UCK is an “organization responsible for serious violation of human rights, not only of the Serbs, but of Albanians and other citizens of Kosovo and Metohija”;

“During negotiations on the future status of Kosovo and Metohija, the most important thing is to perceive our situation realistically and not to demand more than is real that we gain”;

In the recent letter to Joachim Ruecker, from June 2008, concerning that Decani municipality refused to carry out UNMIK decision on returning the land back to Decani Monastery, Teodosije Sibalic states that Decani municipality decision “deeply undermines the rule of law and order in the Province”! What “rule of law and order” in Kosovo and Metohija Teodosije Sibalic talks about. Is it cynicism, regarding 150 destroyed churches, 250 000 Serbs expelled, more than 2000 killed and abducted Serbs, dozens of thousands of destroyed and usurped Serb houses, the independence declaration on February 17…?

At the end, nothing less horrifying in the texts of the aforementioned authors are the statements on international presence in Kosovo and Metohija – UNMIK, being paralyzed and incapable. These statements with no less power echo the appeal to the international mission which could establish law and order – the EULEX. If it was already possible to give legitimacy and gradually get accustomed and accept “the new Kosovo institutions” and “newly-proclaimed Government of Kosovo”, why it wouldn’t be possible to justify and accept the coming of EULEX?

So, we read in the text that in Kosovo and Metohija there is:

“Rapid implosion of international authority in the Province”;

“Humiliation of the international presence in Kosovo” which “is not capable to control the situation on the ground”;

“Complete international vacuum in Kosovo”;

“Complete absence of international control and supervision”;

as well as that:

“Kosovo self-declared authorities… no more recognize UNMIK, which gradually only turns into a silent bystander”…

Does Ban ki-Moon not claim the same, justifying his decision to reconfigure UNMIK and transfer competencies to EULEX?

“UNMIK can no longer fulfill its role of the interim administration as efficiently as it was case before”.

Ban assesses that the “capability of UNMIK to carry on its functions as before is completely undermined by the actions of Pristina authorities and Kosovo Serbs”, as well as that Interim institutions of self-government in Pristina started measures directed to take over UNMIK competencies; and that Kosovo Constitution, coming in force on June 15, does not foresee the real role of UNMIK;

…Parliament in Pristina passed series of bills in which many competencies, which were previously in the authority of SRSG, transfer to the Provincial authorities…

Press service of Raska and Prizren Diocese

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