The Diocese of Raska and Prizren said Thursday that is not able to accept the interference of Kosovo institutions in the life of the Church and the assumption of protection of Banjska Monastery following the recent armed conflicts.
We primarily see this initiative as a political act aimed not only at placing the religious and cultural heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) in Kosovo and Metohija under the political control of Kosovo institutions but also as a step towards further degradation of our basic religious freedoms and rights and the cultural appropriation of our churches and monasteries, reads a statement by the Diocese of Raska and Prizren issued in response to Kosovo Culture Minister Hajrulla Ceku’s announcement of the Ministry’s initiative to assess and repair the damage at Banjska Monastery caused during recent armed conflicts.
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren said it is “capable of engaging independent experts to assess the incurred damage, to restore what has been damaged with our own resources and the contributions of our benefactors, as has been the case with other churches and monasteries damaged or nearly destroyed by K/Albanian extremists over the past two decades.”
“We believe it is essential to repair the damage, and our Diocese has been working for years with the help of local and international benefactors to restore and protect our holy sites, including Banjska Monastery, a significant legacy of Saint King Stefan Milutin from the 14th century,” said the Diocese.
“Mr. Ceku’s statement refers to an early Christian church, overlooking Banjska’s status since the 14th century as one of the most important sanctuaries of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the burial church of St. King Milutin, significantly restored in recent years,” read the statement.
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren added that it has been facing continuous denial of the church’s spiritual and religious identity in Kosovo and Metohija for years, with Minister Ceku leading this trend.