KFOR thanked for protecting Serb monastery

Marko Đurić and Visoki Dečani Monastery Abbot Sava Janjić on Monday expressed gratitude to the KFOR commander for providing protection to the holy site.

Source: Tanjug

Italian Major-General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo was thanked for sending soldiers to increase the security around the monastery after its facilities and gates had been sprayed with threatening graffiti celebrating the Islamic State and calling for the creation of a "caliphate."

After the meeting Đurić, who heads the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija, and Janjić had with Figliuolo, Đurić told reporters said that in the political sense, the authorities in Priština should bear the greatest responsibility for keeping the monastery secure.

“Whoever wants to cooperate with the Serbs and whoever wants the support of the Serb community must treat the Serbian holy sites with respect and must protect them and treat them in the same way that all holy sites of such a category and such a ranking are treated,” Đurić said.

He thanked the Italian KFOR soldiers for securing the 14th century Serbian Orthodox Church monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.

Abbot Sava Janjić warned that it had become difficult to keep the monastery safe, especially after the threatening graffiti had been sprayed at monastery facilities and two of its gates.

The first graffiti, reading “ISIS” (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), “The Caliphate is coming” and UCK and AKSH - Albanian language acronyms for Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Albanian National Army (ANA) - were found written on monastery facilities on October 12, and new ISIS and AKSH graffiti were found on more locations on the monastery land the next day.

Janjić said it was a very serious provocation which was not an isolated case, recalling that unknown individuals had left UCK graffiti on one of the Monastery gates in April and that several attacks, even armed attacks, had been carried out on the monastery over the previous few years.

“KFOR took the security risks seriously and stepped up its presence" around the monastery, Janjić said and thanked the KFOR commander and his soldiers for making great effort to preserve the security at the holy site.

Janjić said that the visit by the director of the Office for KiM was an encouragement for the monks at the monastery and stressed that the support coming from the Serbian government was “giving them strength to persevere in their monastic life in the province.”

He also expressed the hope that Kosovo’s institutions and local municipalities would understand that Visoki Dečani Monastery was not a threat to the Albanian people who live in the area, but rather a holy site of great significance for all.

Janjić expressed the hope of better times coming, with more peace, safety and security for the Serbs and their shrines.

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