In the Ministry’s statement, it is emphasised that the domestic and international public must not forget that 19 years ago, by endangering the human rights of the Serbian and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija, churches and monasteries were burned, cemeteries and cultural heritage were desecrated, which are a symbol of the existence and duration of the Serbian people in the territory they have inhabited for centuries.
In the March violence, more than 4,000 Serbs were expelled, 35 Serbian churches and monasteries were completely destroyed or damaged, half of which are protected cultural monuments, among them are the Devic Monastery, the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Prizren, the Church of the Virgin of Ljevis and the Church of St. George in Prizren, Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Djakovica.
More than ten thousand frescoes, icons, chalices, vestments, as well as church books of marriages and baptisms were lost or destroyed. In the Church of Our Lady of Ljevis in Prizren, which was set on fire from the inside, the altar area was desecrated, the Holy Table was broken, and its priceless paintings, including frescoes from the 13th century, were damaged.
The Ministry recalls that in 2006, due to the unstable security situation and constant threats, the monasteries of Gracanica, Visoki Decani, Pec Patriarchate and the Church of the Virgin of Ljevis were entered on the List of World Heritage in Danger, where they remain to this day.
Also, the international organisation "Europa Nostra" ranked the Visoki Decani monastery first on the list of the seven most endangered cultural monuments in Europe for 2021.
At the same time, the construction of a road by the authorities in Pristina, right next to the Visoki Decani monastery, directly threatens this endowment of King Stefan Decanski from the 14th century, which enjoys the status of world cultural heritage. The idea that a main road for traffic passes right next to the Orthodox church is contrary to all standards for the protection of monuments under the auspices of UNESCO.