25 March 2007

Church desecrated in village of Gornja Brnjica in Kosovo

GRACANICA, January 9, 2007 (Tanjug, SRNA) - Unknown persons desecrated the church of Sts. Peter and Paul in the village of Gornja Brnjica near Pristina, representatives of the Kosovo Police Service advised today.

"Two nights ago a side window was broken on the church through which the criminals then entered. They stole the donations collected in the church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as taking a number of icons from the church," said village representative Dragi Djordjevic. He said that the KPS visited the site yesterday and initiated an investigation.

This is the second time the church has been broken into in the past two months. Last time the tongue of the church bell was stolen.

KPS spokesman Veton Elsani said that unknown persons broke a window on the church through which they entered the church and stole some money. According to Elsani, a police investigative unit and forensic experts went to the scene this morning. It is assumed that the motive for the break in was robbery, and there are no suspects at this time.

The church in Gornja Brnjica was desecrated late in the night on January 7 or early in the morning on January 8.

Church in Gornja Brnjica near Pristina robbed and damaged
KIM Radio, Caglavica, January 9, 2007

In the night between January 7 and 8 the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Gornja Brnjica near Pristina was broken into and robbed.
The bars were removed from a window and the church, windows broken, icons damaged and all the money in the church was stolen, parish priest Stevan Markovic told KIM Radio. "Recently a lot of things have been happening in Serb enclaves and villages where Serbs are surviving and living under difficult conditions. Everything seems to be going wrong but this, too, is some kind of test we are getting from the Lord," said Father Stevan. He added that he hopes that the Serbian people can overcome all the difficulties it is currently experiencing.
"We place our hope in God's mercy that in the future such things will not reoccur."

Dragan Djordjevic, representative of the village of Gornja Brnjica, said that this is not the first attack on this church; on the contrary, recently such attacks have become increasingly frequent. "Since the end of the war this is the fourth time the church was been desecrated."

Coordinating Center (for Kosovo and Metohija) vice-president Nenad Kostic said that the damage to the church is one in a series of many acts of vandalism that have befallen the Serbian people recently. "We can only place our hope in god that better times await us, i.e. that after this incident similar ones will not reoccur," said Kojic.

The church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was built on the foundation of an older church. It faces large tombstones with crosses which according to folk tradition and Kosovo legend is supposed to indicate the burial place of the legendary Serbian heroes, the Jugovices.

Bishop Artemije condemns desecration of church in Brnjica
KIM Radio, January 9, 2007

Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren condemned the desecration of the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Brnjica near Pristina, saying that this most recent attack on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija also occurred at the time of the greatest Christian feast of Christmas. In a statement for KOSMA, Bishop Artemije reminded that during the past seven years many messages have been sent to representatives of the international community regarding the desecration of churches in Kosovo, and that the question that must now be asked is whether there is any point at all in doing so.

"They know what is happening, and they are aware of their guilt but they are not doing anything to prevent crimes. The message appears to be that they are supporting criminals and terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija. If the international community is fighting against terrorism everywhere in the world, why is it tolerating it Kosovo and Metohija? What is happening here is the most brutal form of terror that can be imaged," said Bishop Artemije.