MUSUTISTE, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN HODEGETRIA – The endowment of the main accountant John Dragoslav and his family is located above the village of Musutiste, 10 km south-east of Suva Reka. It was built in 1315 which is evidenced by a long and neat stone inscription above the western portal. The Church of the Virgin Hodegitria was destroyed by Albanian extremists in summer 1999, despite the deployment of German KFOR troops in the area. In the meantime the pine grow around the church was cut and the enclosure wall was demolished and used as building material for neighboring Kosovo Albanian houses.
Carl K. Savich
On November 17, 2002 UNMIK police reported that the Serbian Orthodox Church, St. Basil the Miracle Worker of Ostrog (Sveti Vasilije Ostrovski) in Ljubovo village between Istok and Banja near Pec, had been totally destroyed with explosives, with only the front façade still intact. In Djurakovac, 30 miles west of Pristina, a second Serbian Orthodox Church was bombed/mined and heavily damaged, the Church of All Serbian Saints. The interior of the church was gutted following three explosions.
This brought the number of Orthodox Churches destroyed or damaged since NATO and the UN occupied Kosovo to 112. This has been an unprecedented act of genocide. The planned and systematic destruction of the Christian history of Kosovo-Metohija under US/NATO/EU sponsorship. Churches that had survived for over 500 years under Ottoman Turkish rule were reduced to rubble under the protection of 30,000 NATO troops.
How did UNMIK react to this systematic destruction? UNMIK did not contact Serbian representatives of the Orthodox Church following the destruction. Instead, the event was spin doctored. After inspecting the destruction with Bajram Rexhepi, the “Prime Minister”, SRSG Michael Steiner stated: “We will not speculate on who is responsible.” Investigators had not yet determined the cause of the explosions. The UNMIK police report filed on November 16, 2002, was in the passive form:
“An explosion occurred inside a Christian Church.” The UNMIK report by William T. Burgstiner gave the location as Gurakoc, the Albanian name for Djurakovac, in the Istok district. The UNMIK report stated incorrectly that only the doors and windows were damaged by the explosion. In fact, the entire interior of the church was gutted and destroyed by three explosions. The destruction of two Orthodox Churches was dismissed as random, unconnected acts of arson by unknown persons with an unknown motive.
Steiner did not wish to speculate on who was responsible because he wanted to negate responsibility entirely. Was the destruction of the church random? The mining of the churches came days ahead of a visit by UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan. The destruction was politically motivated, intended to send a message that the UCK rejected a “multi-ethnic society”.
Even the dead have not been spared. Since the NATO occupation of Kosovo, over 10 Orthodox cemeteries have been vandalized and desecrated. Not even the innocent dead are immune from Albanian “revenge”. On June 10, 2002, vandalism of the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery was discovered. In a RIA Novosti article of June 27, 2002, “Russian Church Denounces Vandalism with Cemeteries Desecrated in Kosovo”, the Russian Orthodox Church protested the genocide being carried out in Kosovo under NATO/US supervision.
The global media and international human rights groups, however, ignored the vandalism of Orthodox graves in Kosovo. In Orahovac and Djakovica, Orthodox gravestones had been smashed and UCK/KLA symbols had been spray painted on them. In the Orahovac Orthodox cemetery, 50-60 Orthodox tombstones were desecrated and vandalized. Bishop Artemius/Artemije reported that the Albanians had exhumed human remains and had scattered them around the graves in Siga and Brestovik Orthodox churchyards near Pec in Metohija.
Bishop Artemius stated that over 10 cemeteries and over 100 Orthodox churches had been ransacked and destroyed. Human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI), and the Helsinki Human Rights Group have ignored these acts of genocide. KFOR and UNMIK have done nothing to prevent this vandalism. Bishop Artemije was incredulous how NATO/KFOR/UNMIK could not prevent the destruction of 110 Orthodox churches and 10 Orthodox cemeteries:
“It is absolutely incredible that 30,000 best and NATO led troops and UNMIK police have not managed to prevent systematic destruction of the Serb holy sites and cemeteries.”
On December 2, 2002, 46 tombstones at the Orthodox cemetery in Kosovo Polje and Decani were destroyed following celebrations of Albanian Flag Day held on November 28 near the Visoki Decani Monastery. The KFOR troops did nothing to protect the cemetery. The Orthodox cemetery is one hundred meters from the Italian checkpoint and the KFOR base.
The Serbian Orthodox Church representative stated that “the cemetery is now completely desolate with not a single grave intact.” These acts of vandalism and wanton destruction “threaten to erase any trace of Serbian presence in the region.” The Serbian Orthodox Church of Kosovo called for the protection of Serbian churches and cemeteries. UNMIK and KFOR had done nothing to prevent these acts of genocide.
The Church dismissed Steiner’s actions as a “theatre play”, a farce, PR. The Church stated that 112 Serbian Orthodox churches had been destroyed or damaged since the NATO/UN occupation of Kosovo, 982 Kosovo Serbs had been killed, and 1,083 had been kidnapped.
No only were Orthodox Churches attacked and destroyed. On the same day as the two churches were bombed and destroyed, a Serbian family in Vrbovac near Kosovoska Vitina was attacked by Albanian gunmen while working in the fields. Earlier in 2002, 50 elderly Serbian pensioners were attacked in Pec by Albanian mobs. Moreover, Albanians have prevented the delivery of food to Serbian residents in the area to starve them out and force them to leave.
The US/NATO policy is to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosova, ethnically homogeneous, with the goal to become an independent country. US/NATO had established a de facto ethnically pure Albanian state. All that remained was de jure recognition. But first US/NATO had to make sure all traces of an Orthodox Christian and Serbian presence in Kosovo was eliminated and erased. What about the stated US/NATO objective to create a “multi-ethnic society”? That is where propaganda and information war comes in.
In Macedonia (FYROM), the UCK has destroyed and damaged over 30 Orthodox churches and has vandalized a cemetery near Tetovo. The modus operandi of the UCK has been replicated…
Genocide or “Multi-Ethnic Society”?