German Ambassador in Pristina Christian Heldt commented on recent controversy related to changing the history that occurred after the Kosovo Ministry of Culture restoration of Saint Nikola Church in Novo Brdo, for which Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts said it is a part of the Orthodox heritage, represented as Catholic cathedral, KoSSev portal reported.
The German Government paid for the works on the preservation of the site, while the German Ambassador said the project only preserved what was on the site and did not comment on how the Kosovo Ministry of Culture presented this heritage site. The Ambassador added that he likes that place in Novo Brdo because it represents the diversity of Kosovo. Not only today, but in a historical sense as well. “I have seen that area up there before the process of preservation started and it did not look good. Therefore, with the program of preserving cultural heritage of our Ministry that we implement worldwide, we allocated the funds to preserve what is there,” Ambassador Heldt said in an interview to Radio Gorazdevac,
Kosovo media at the beginning of June reported that Kosovo Archaeological Institute with the support of the German Embassy in Pristina started to work on “the cathedral in Artana,” (Novo Brdo) and represented the locality that the Serbian Orthodox Church has the right to, as Rimo-Catholic Cathedral, KoSSev further reported.
Raska-Prizren Eparchy reacted after the works started, explaining it is “an ancient Serbian middle age cathedral Church of Saint Nikola, temple of Novo Brdo and Gracanica bishops in the vicinity of Novo Brdo fortress.”
The Eparchy also underlined it is one of the 40 specially protected zones in Kosovo, which according to the Kosovo laws are subject to the special procedures that do not depend on Kosovo institutions only, but also on the stance of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In addition to that, this old religious site was wrongly presented on the site of the Kosovo Ministry of Culture as Rimo-Catholic Church, without any reference to the authentic history of the temple and the results of up to date archaeological researches, the Eparchy said.
Ambassador Heldt also told Radio Gorazdevac that in addition to the preservation of the site, there would be no other works. “I would like to declare against these impressions that something else will be built there. No, according to the project only preservation of the site and access to it were included. What you see now it is a completed project (…). Our fund for preserving the culture was established to preserve the monuments not to change them,” Ambassador said, adding that the works were completed last year, but the inauguration was postponed for the middle of the year due to unfavorable weather conditions.
KoSSev said Ambassador Heldt did not comment on the allegations of the Kosovo Ministry of Culture on the origin of the heritage site that are still present on the official site of this ministry.