SPC condemns possible removal of church in Kosovo

GRAČANICA -- The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Raška-Prizren Eparchy opposed on Tuesday the removal of an unfinished church in Priština.

The eparchy also opposed its turning into a memorial museum of Kosovo Albanians, underlining that this constituted an open call for discrimination and continued destruction of the Serb heritage in Kosovo.

The eparchy voiced concern over "the relentless campaign by Kosovo hard-line media aimed at turning the Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior into a memorial museum of Kosovo Albanians or removing it completely."

The Raška-Prizren Eparchy strongly condemns the ideas that could be heard at the recent meeting of the Senate of the Kosovo University in Priština, as an attempt to infringe not only on the property rights of the SPC, which in the early 1990s obtained a building permit for this church in centre of Priština in keeping with the law, but most importantly on religious rights and freedoms of the Serb Orthodox population in Kosovo.

"At a time, when in the centre of Priština, in the vicinity of the Church, a huge Roman Catholic Cathedral has been built, and works on one of the largest mosque in the Balkans are being planned, the intention to destroy or desecrate the unfinished Cathedral Church of Christ the Savior in the vicinity of the University building constitutes an open call for discrimination and continuation of the process of destruction of the Serb spiritual heritage in Kosovo and Metohija," the eparchy said in a statement.

"The idea that the church should be turned into a memorial museum of Kosovo Albanians is particularly cynical and immoral, taking into account that almost the entire Serb population was forced to leave Priština, so now only around 50 elderly people remained out of 40, 000 Serbs," the eparchy added.

"The calls coming from the circles of the University of Priština for the destruction of a Christian church in the centre, which has been for years now used as a landfill and public toilet, send a message to the world about open intolerance and religious hatred which after the armed conflict in Kosovo and Metohija led to systematic destruction of 150 Serb Orthodox churches and sacrilege of hundreds of Christian graveyards," the eparchy noted.