Serbs, shot at on Saturday, return to destroyed monastery
About 20 members of the Kosovo police on Tuesday provided security during the celebration of the feast day of the destroyed Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Binac.
The monastery, built in the 14th century, and completely destroyed by ethnic Albanians in 1999, is located in the village of Buzovik, the municipality of Kosovska Vitina.
On Saturday, ahead of today's holiday dedicated to Archangel Gabriel, a group of Serbs came under fire from automatic weapons as they were cleaning the grounds of the garbage and debris that local ethnic Albanians are dumping at the ruins of the desecrated temple. Nobody was injured during the incident, that has been reported to the Kosovo police.
Today, about 100 villagers and their guests from various parts of the Kosovsko Pomoravlje District, along with some citizens who had left the area as early as in the 1970s, gathered at the monastery and celebrated the day in peace, and without incidents.
"Visiting my hometown brings back beautiful childhood memories, but scenes like the desecrated grave of my former neighbor - which was done during the past year - point out to the reality and the difficult lives that people who remained are leading." Mijomir Lalic, who now lives in the town of Smederevo, told Serbia's state broadcaster RTS.
Nenad Kojic, a professor at the Pristina University, now relocated to Kosovska Mitrovica, said those who live in the village now "have no intention of leaving."
"It's all the same that they destroyed our holy places, they cannot destroy our faith and our hope," said Kojic.
The Binac monastery, dedicated to Archangel Gabriel, is one of the oldest Serbian temples built in the 14th century. It was completely destroyed in July 1999, after the war in Kosovo and after the arrival of international forces there.
Ethnic Albanian extremists first pillaged and desecrated the monastery, and after a U.S. unit from the NATO-led KFOR left the area, they proceeded to burn down the interior, and then detonate explosives to completely demolish the temple, including the chapels dedicated to St. Petka, St. Stephen, and St. Nicholas.