Kosovo News

  • Orthodox Churches Face Continued Vandalism

    In August 2005, the Persecution and Prayer Alert reported on harassment facing Orthodox Christians in Kosovo (click here to read more). There are concerns for this violence to escalate if independence is granted to this predominantly Muslim area currently part of Serbia and Montenegro. Ethnic animosity between the Serbians and Kosovar Albanians serves to escalate the violence.

    Reports were received this week on recent vandalism against Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo.  The Holy Apostle Andrew Church in Podujevo was seriously damaged in 2004 when a mob set fire to the building. Restoration has begun but, in April 2006, several windows were smashed along with the door. In mid-June, vandals also broke into the building smashing windows and writing graffiti on the walls.

    The Church of the Birth of Theotokos in Obilic was also recently damaged. Crosses were torn from the top of the building, the roof was damaged, windows were smashed and the door broken open.

    Ask the Lord to bring peace to this volatile area. Ask God to grant a forgiving heart to those affected by the vandalism (Matthew 5:43-44). Pray that believers in Christ will continually look to Jesus Christ so they can endure opposition without growing weary (Hebrews 12:1-3).

  • Church Destructions May Be Signs of Worse to Come in Kosovo
    Destruction of St. Andrew the Apostle Church
    Destruction of the St. Andrew the Apostle Church.

    The destruction of 150 church buildings and the simultaneous construction of 200 mosques may reveal a significant threat if Kosovo is granted full independence, claims a former U.S. diplomat, Thomas Patrick Melady.  According to an August 15 report from Cybercast News Service (CNS), ethnic Albanians, most of the Muslim, are carrying on a campaign against Christians in the U.N. Protectorate, with substantial funds from "Wahhabist nations."

    Kosovo is still technically a part of Serbia and Montenegro, though it is administered by the U.N. as an international protectorate.  Eighty-eight percent of Kosovo's population is Muslim Albanians, with a minority of Serbs, Turks, Roma and Slavs.  The province has been the centre for the Serbian Christian Orthodox Church since the twelfth century.  However, between 1999 and 2004, approximately 150 churches, monasteries, seminaries and bishop residences have been attacked and priceless relics destroyed.  CNS has obtained a video of the destruction of one Orthodox Church, St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Podujevo.  Other video footage showing the desecration of an Orthodox Church in September 1995 is being used as part of a fundraiser for a Jihad, calling on Muslims to kill Serbs.  An edited segment of the video is available from CNS (click here).

    Orthodox nuns and monks from the monastery in Pec report that because of the fear of snipers, a military escort is required to go outdoors to fetch water.  Approximately 200,000 Serbs are reports to have fled Kosovo because of the violence and more than 18,000 legal complaints have been made against Albanians for confiscating church and private property.

    Pray for wisdom for the U.N. and other governments as decisions are made about the future of Kosovo.  Pray that Christians in the province will be protected and that Kosovo will not become a militant Islamic state.

  • Repeated Attacks on Christians
    Serbian Orthodox Church in Pristina
    Serbian Orthodox Church in Pristina

    The Serbian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in Kosovo's capital Pristina was stoned on May 10, breaking many of the windows. This was only the latest of many attacks against Orthodox Christians in the region. In a May 13 report from Forum 18, Father Miroslav Popadic said that his church is completely locked down except for services and he opens the gates by prior appointment only. When visiting villages, he said, "I make the sign of the cross, sit in my car and drive fast at my own risk."

    Protection for the church by NATO-led KFOR troops was removed at the end of last year. More than a hundred Orthodox churches have been destroyed or badly damaged in Kosovo since the international community took control and there have been no arrests for these attacks since 1999.

    Pray for protection for Christians facing opposition from the predominantly Muslim population remaining in Kosovo.