UCK graffitti painted on Dečani Monastery gate - Communique of the Diocese

The graffitti with the acronyme of the Kosovo Albanian wartime rebel organization UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) were painted last night on the gate of Visoki Dečani Monastery, one of major Serbian Orthodox sites in Kosovo. This is the most recent provocation in the series of similar incidents by K/Albanian extremists who have painted hate speech graffitti on the walls of the Djakovica Orthodox church and Serbian homes in Orahovac earlier this year. This time the extremists left their message on the Monastery Decani gate, just a few dozens of meters away from the Italian KFOR peacekeepers' checkpoint.

The Diocese of Raška-Prizren sees this act as an open threat to Visoki Dečani Monastery and its monastic brotherhood, as this site has already suffered four grenade attacks by Kosovo Albanian militants in the last 15 years of the international peace and has been exposed to frequent threats by the UCK veterans. Regrettably, this latest provocation seems to be a result of the increased nationalist rhetorics which is circulating in local Albanian media. The media campaign is targeting Dečani Monastery although its monks sheltered Kosovo Albanian refugees during the war.

This latest incident also shows that the security of Serbian Orthodox sites in Kosovo is still endangered even in cases when the security is entrusted to NATO led peacekeepers.

The Abbot of Visoki Dečani Monastery Fr. Sava Janjić informed the international military and civilian representatives about the latest incident and requested increased security measures for this world-known Christian site which was inscribed in the UNESCO list of the World Cultural Heritage in 2005. Fr. Sava stated that although such provocations endanger security of monks, pilgrims and tourists visiting the Monastery they primarily damage the image of Kosovo which is currently the only territory in Europe where Christian monuments are still in danger.