Serbian Orthodox Church Raska-Prizren Eparchy expressed the strongest protest over recent unauthorized serving of Catholic mass on the remains of an old cathedral temple of Saint Nikola, seat of Novo Brdo Orthodox Metropolitans and main Orthodox Serbian temple in this medieval town, as well as placing political symbols of Kosovo on the Serbian medieval cultural, historic and religious heritage sites in Novo Brdo Special Protection Zone and organizing public gatherings and other activities aiming to promote the medieval Novo Brdo town as an ethnic Albanian location under unhistorical name “Artana,” Serbian media report.
Raska-Prizren Eparchy underlined that according to the Law on Special Protection Zones, medieval town Novo Brdo is included in the list of special protection zones as the heritage of particular importance to the Serbian people. As this legal act stipulates the purpose of the law is “to ensure protection of the Serbian Orthodox monasteries, churches and other religious sites, as well as historical and cultural sites that have particular importance to the Serb community in Kosovo, and other communities in Kosovo through the establishment of special protection zones”.
The Law further very precisely defines the role of the Monitoring and Implementation Council, whose members are Head of EU Office in Kosovo, Head of OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Kosovo Ministers of Culture and Spatial Planning, as well as Raska-Prizren Eparchy Bishop Teodosije as Serbian Orthodox Church representative.
The articles 5 and 6 of the Law clearly refer to the forbidden and limited activities within Special Protection Zones, and the point 6.6 clearly includes “public gatherings, recreation and celebrations.” In the case of Novo Brdo, the Law clearly says the municipality needs to consult directly with the Serbian Orthodox Church and if an agreement is not reached, then the problem is resolved with the Implementation and Monitoring Council, Raska-Prizren Eparchy underlined.
Having this in mind and other violations of the Law on Special Protection Zones, the Eparchy noted with regret that Kosovo institutions directly and intentionally participate in undermining and violating their own laws.
Therefore, the Eparchy calls for an urgent meeting of the Implementation and Monitoring Council as well as urgent interruption of all illegal and provocative activities on the location of the medieval town of Novo Brdo given that acts of Kosovo institutions and Catholic Diocese directly hamper inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations and represent a flagrant violation and misuse of the cultural heritage of particular importance to the Serbian Orthodox Church and its religious sites for the cheap political scores.
Given provocations of the Kosovo institutions on the location of the medieval town of Novo Brdo, the Raska-Prizren Eparchy also said it would address the international representatives in Pristina as well as relevant international organizations dealing with the protection of religious rights and cultural heritage and seek adequate reaction as well as additional institutional and security protection.
Full Raska-Prizren Eparchy statement in Serbian is available at: http://www.eparhija-prizren.com/sr/vesti/eparhija-rasko-prizrenska-izrazava-najostriji-protest-zbog-flagrantnog-krsenja-zakona-o-specij