A true diplomatic war for the protection of Serbian sanctities in Kosovo-Metohija has been waged in UNESCO in Paris these days. An attempt at obliterating the centuries-long medieval Serb cultural heritage in Kosovo-Metohija has been made again. More from Ljiljana Sinđelić Nikolić.

The sanctities of the Serbian Orthodox Church cannot be passed off as so-called cultural monuments of Kosovo, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić said. After a true diplomatic war in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Serbia has suceeded in preventing an attempt at renaming the monasteries and churches of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo-Metohija into so-called Kosovo cultural monuments, he said. We have testified to the attempts of a number of countries at renaming Serb monasteries in Kosmet, at stealing the Serb identity and at changing history, said Jeremic.

This has been yet another attempt of the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo at falsifying history and at obliterating anything with a Serbian attribute. The misappropriation of the Serb cultural heritage in Kosmet has been going on for a long time. Thus Kosovo Albanians call Orthodox Serbian monasteries by a hybrid name of „Byzantine Albanian“ ones, despite the fact that Albanians are not of Orthodox confession. They have also renamed the founder of the powerful medieval Serbian state, Stefan Nemanja, „Stejan Nimanija“, while the valiant Serbian knight Miloš Obilić, who killed Ottoman sultan Murat in the Kosovo Battle in 1389, has become an Albanian knight, Miloš Kopilik.

In the region of Kosovo-Metohija, Christian history dates back to the apostolic period, when Apostles Andrew and Paul stayed there and preached the Gospel. After the Edict of Milan, in 313, the region became part of the Thessaloniki Vicariate, which is confirmed by a letter of Pope Innocent I. The Eparchy of Prizren is first mentioned in a charter of Byzantine Emperor Basil II and in 1189 the eparchy became part of the Serbian state. During the rule of the Serbian royal dynasty of Nemanjic, the Prizren Eparchy was one of the most flourishing units of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Numerous monasteries, churches and hospitals were built in the region of the Eparchy and schools were organized within monastic walls. This period is characterized with the gems of Serbian Orthodox art, which are at the same time the greatest achievements of European medieval and Christian heritage.

We can mention just a few of the Serbian sanctities in Kosmet – the monasteries of Visoki Dečani, Gračanica, the Peć Patriarchate and many others, which testify to the Serbian history in those regions even today. Unfortunately, in the past years, Serbs have been expelled from Kosmet and medieval Serbian monasteries and sanctities have been demolished, destroyed or reduced to rubble by Kosovo Albanian extremists. Let us mention just one of the numerous drastic examples. In Prizren, the heart of the Serbian medieval state, a 14th century Serbian Orthodox church of Sveta Nedelja was demolished recently. An Albanian, an alleged owner of a lot, had begun digging the foundations for a new building, thus destroying the foundations of the church itself, so the church is going to collapse if not repaired immediately. Kosovo Albanian extremists are trying to obliterate Serbian cultural heritage in any manner possible. The late Serbian patriarch, Pavle, who knew circumstances in Kosmet very well as he lived there for three decades, used to say that, despite all the difficulties and ordeals, Serbs have always managed to survive in Kosovo-Metohija. The most valuable gifts of the Serbian nation and their contribution to the treasury of the heritage of humankind have persisted for centuries, wrote Patriarch Pavle.