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Declaration of the Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Against the Genocide Inflicted by the Albanians on the
Indigenous Serbian Population, Together with the Sacrilege
Of Their Cultural Monuments in Their Own Country

In Yugoslavia, ever since the end of the Second World War and up to the
present day, persecution of the Serbian population and of their religion
continues in Kosovo and Methoija, regions of their ten centuries' old

This persecution is being administered by the Albanians, who, after the Second World War, were given Home Rule as an ethnic minority by some of the highest policy-makers in Yugoslavia. In this way, the pre-conditions for the furtherance of the persecution of the Serbian population, and of the Serbian Orthodox Church, were created.

During the war, the Albanians were the allies of Fascist Italy and Nazi
Germany. They committed untold atrocities against the Serbian population.
Mussolini, in the framework of his plan to create a "Great Albania",
transferred 60,000 people from Albania into the regions of Kosovo and
Methohija while expelling at the same time more than 100,000 Serbs from that territory.

After the war, the highest authorities in Yugoslavia did nothing to correct
that injustice. Moreover, the process of migration of Albanians from Albania into Yugoslavia, into the regions of Kosovo and Metohija, continued.

Thus, during the last four decades, 260,000 such immigrants arrived and in
order to make room for them, the Albanians drove out, by various terrorist
methods, more than 200,000 Serbs.

Here are some facts about this situation:

Today there are 700 villages and towns where not one Serb remains, and yet
these places were formerly populated exclusively by Serbs. In the areas which were populated by mixed nationalities, Albanians and Serbs, only 10 percent of the Serbs are still there, but the persecution continues.

Contrary to the foregoing facts, however, the western world is given false
information and outright lies are told about alleged persecutions of Albanians by Serbs.

It is impossible to list all the crimes against the Serbian population
committed by the Albanians through the centuries. Many books have been written about the atrocities practised during the occupation of the Serbian
territories by the Ottoman Empire. Under the pressure of the Albanians, who
adopted Islam, a considerable number of Serbs were driven out from Kosovo and Methohija in two great migrations during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was at that point in history that the Albanians appeared, for the first time in greater numbers, on those territories. The same process was repeated during the First and Second World Wars as well as in the following period when even without a war we have been witnessing a renewed exodus of the Serbian people from their homeland.

We are aware that we cannot enumerate all acts of terrorism of the Albanians against the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija. Only the Almighty God knows the sum-total of the suffering inflicted upon them. We are only quoting a number of examples of different forms of pressure which have been used to force out the Serbs, to destroy their culture and to desecrate their sacred monuments on their territory.

In 1974 the Albanians expelled the brothers Vojin and Velimir Soskic, together with 17 members of their family, from the village of Papracani near Decani; having beaten them up at the well, they forced them to leave with threats and violence. Velimir Soskic now lives in Montenegro while Vojin Soskic settled in the village of Vrncani near Gornji Milanovac (Serbia).

In 1971 Ljubomir Vucinic was forced out of the village of Ljubovac near Srbica in Kosovo. Another 80 Serbian families were driven out and only six families remained there. They were all forced out by threats, barrages of
stone-throwing and the firing of guns around their houses at night.

In the same way, the whole village population was forced to leave the village of Gornja Prekaza near Srbica. The most respected Serb, Aleksandar Milosevic, was the last to leave the village with his large family.

He is now employed as a labourer in Belgrade. While the Serbs, were still
there, the Albanians destroyed the Christian Orthodox cemetery. It is known
that in that village since 1960, the Albanians from neighbouring villages were practising the kind of lawlessness reminiscent of the Turkish Rule: under threat the Serbs were obliged to surrender to them a quarter of the yield from their fields. Milan Scepanovic from the village of Dasinovic near Decani refused to abandon his land. On the 18th July 1971 his neighbour, an Albanian, shot Milan in the head. The wound caused Milan to lose an eye and an ear but the assailant was never punished. Milan Scepanovic had to leave his home even though he was a war veteran who had been decorated for his bravery. He is now living in the village of Jelenac, near Topola (Serbia).

When left without any males in her family Stanica Pesic of Donje Ratiste near Decani had her house and 12 acres of land appropriated by her Albanian
neighbour. At the end of three years of long court proceedings, the court's
decision was most baffling: Stanica Pesic was to receive 150.000 Dinars from the village council and the Albanian neighbour was to keep the house and the land in his possession. That sum was just sufficient for Stanica to buy the train tickets for herself and her four daughters.

On the land of the brothers Djurisic, near Decani, several Albanian houses
were built without the consent of the owners. Following that, the Djurisic
brothers were expelled from the remaining land.

The village authorities cut down three times the orchards of Mirko and Mirka Stefanovic in the centre of Decani under the pretext that it was necessary for the planning of the motorway. Three more houses of their neighbours, also Serbs, were knocked down.

On the 28th of October 1982, a 12-year-old boy, Dejan Antunovic was set upon by some Albanians who grabbed him in the street at mid-day, doused him with petrol and set him alight. His anorak helped to save his life but he received severe burns.

There is a long list of evil deeds, torments and crimes to which the nuns from the Serbian monasteries in Kosovo are being subjected. In 1981, in the
monastery of the Holy Trinity in Musutiste the Albanians blinded a bull
belonging to the monastery. They rammed a rake into the stomach of a cow which was in calf and killed her. The same year they drove nails into the testicles of the rams belonging to the monastery; they also cut down the monastery's forest. The Albanians of the village Grazdel waited in ambush for the nuns to beat them up.

The nuns dared not go about freely with their work on their land. The
Albanians forcibly removed building material from the yard of the monastery. Nuns Vera and Angelina were viciously beaten. Albanian youths beat up nun Stanka and attacked and attempted to rape nun Heruvima, aged 50.

In the same monastery, in 1982, a Roman Catholic nun from Croatia came to stay with the nuns as their guest. She wanted to see the ancient altar screen and some ancient holy books preserved in the convent. One day, while returning to the monastery from a visit to two of her acquaintances, also Catholic nuns, she was stopped by three young Albanians who raped her, beat her up and robbed her. She obtained a medical certificate from a Ugandan doctor, Dr. Sirijaza, who was practising there. However, no action was taken against the thugs who were from the village of Rakovac. The police chief inspector there declared that, in his opinion "the rape of a nun is not a rape at all". He merely took the gold chain and cross which the thugs had taken from the nun and returned them to her.

In the ancient city of Prizren, renowned for its numerous churches and remains of a long and brilliant Christian tradition, Milorad Sredic, student of the Prizren College of Theology, was stabbed twice by some Albanians who wanted to stop him from entering the College. Another Serbian student was beaten up while walking with other students through the town. Bishop Pavle of Raska-Prizren was three times attacked and beaten in the street.

In 1982, the Albanians set fire to the building of the Patriarchate in PEC.
The old living quarters were burnt down and part of the old library and
treasury room also suffered. The authorities failed (refused) to send the
fire-brigade. For eight hours the nuns had to fight on their own, not only the fire but also the arsonists themselves.

It is not possible to enumerate all the sufferings inflicted upon Paraskeva, the Abbess of the monastery of Devic. Mother Paraskeva has only one arm; the Albanians broke that arm so she can no longer make the sign of the cross.

They are continuously ravaging the monastic estate, threatening the nuns on
killing their cattle.

On the 3rd June 1982, in the village of Samodreza near Vucitrn, an Albanian
killed Danilo Milincic, aged 22. Three Albanian youths drove his cattle away, knocked Danilo down and spread him on the ground. Then their father Mujo Ferat, who had moved in from Albania only in 1972, knelt on Danilo's stomach and shot him through the heart. Danica, Danilo's mother, tried in vain to shield her son with her own body. On the same spot, ten years earlier, the Albanians had killed Danilo's father, Slavoljub and twenty years before, exactly in the same spot they killed Danilo's grandfather, also called Danilo.

The church of Samodreza was desecrated many times. It is a well-known Serbian shrine: according to tradition, it was to that church that Prince Lazar brought the Serbian army to Holy Communion on the eve of the battle against the Turks in Kosovo in 1389; it was there that after the battle, the body of the hero-warrior Milos Obilic was laid to rest. The priest from Vucitrn cannot attend the church in Samodreza not even in the daytime. Until 15 years ago 200 Serbian families lived in this area and much greater numbers lived their in the past.

Nowadays there remain only six of them and these are all households of elderly people. As recently as August 1988 the frescoes of the church in Samodreza were damaged by the Albanians. Graves were dug out and bones scattered around the church yard.

Countless cemeteries in Serbian villages and towns in Kosovo and Metohija are being continuously demolished.

At the end of July 1982 in the village of Mece near Djakovica, Miodrag Saric was killed in his own back yard at the thirtieth attempt on his life. He left a widow and four children who could bear witness to the crimes against their family committed by the Albanians and most of all by the local Chief of Police, Djerdjo Bibljekaj and his Deputy, Causi. The Albanians appropriated Saric's land of 17 acres, poisoned the well in the yard and even the dog that guarded the well. They killed their last horse with a chain. Two months after the murder of Miodrag Saric, the Albanians shot his eldest son, Aleksander. The younger son, Mitar aged 14, was struck on the head by a stone thrown by a Albanian in the middle of the street in Djakovica, causing grievious bodily harm. The Saric family now lives with the assistance of the Church and people of good-will who collect for them. They are the last remaining Serbian family in that part of the country. They have nowhere else to go.

At the University of Pristina, in 1971, Serbian students were beaten up during an escalation of the Albanian nationalism; a recurrence of the incident took place on the 2nd April 1981.

Alabanians burned down the forest adjacent to the house belonging to Dusan
Bijelic from the village of Gornji Ratis. He was set upon at home when
Albanians broke down the doors and smashed in the windows and took away the
chickens the bee-hives and all the money that was in the house.

Milan Vlahovic and Batric Perovic, from the village of Pozar, fared in the
same way; their children were beaten up inside the house and the haystacks
were set on fire.

Hundreds more examples could be given. Bratimir Toskovic of Pristina had a
"Molotov Cocktail" twice thrown in over his balcony and through the window of his home.

In the village of Dolac, near Klina, the Babic brothers were first stabbed
with knives, then, as they were returning from the fields, some Albanians
ambushed them. First they dug a spade into Bogosav Babic's ribs and split open his skull with an ax; his brother, Bozidar, was killed on the spot and the third brother Bogoljub, although wounded, managed to escape into the village.

Seventy wounds were counted on his body. Despite the injuries which Bogosav
sustained, he survived. Sometime later Bogolujb too was killed. The Babic
brothers have been the prize-winner in agriculture in Kosovo so the Albanians hacked down their vine-yards and orchards, destroying them completely. The one remaining brother Bogosav Babic is still being subjected to attacks and his house was raided by Albanian militia-men as well.

A 15-year-old girl from the Rajic family was raped, according to the testimony of Bogosav Babic. In Dolac and its neighbourhood alone, 15 Serbian girls were raped by Albanians in the course of 8 months.

In a nearby village, in broad daylight, from their open gate, Albanians shot Milan Petrovic, a high-school pupil as he was returning from school. He was wounded in the hip, but as the bullet was of the "Dum-Dum" type,

Milan remained permanently crippled in both legs. In Klina, a 70-year-old
woman was raped. The press did not reveal her name in order to protect the
family's honour.

On the 1st May 1985 Djordje Martinovic, aged 50, was impaled in his own field, just outside the village of Gnjilane. The Albanains first stunned him drove a wedge through his anus and then pushed a beer bottle up through the colon to the stomach and rib-cage. This is reminiscent of the punishment meted out to the Serbs by the Turks in earlier times. Djordje Martinovic survived but the attackers have not been brought to justice.

The daughter of Milosav Lazic of Batusa village near Pristina, was raped. This 14-year-old girl was dragged away in broad daylight by Albanians in front of the school in Donje Dobrevo village.

The 7-year-old daughter of M. Rancic, originally from the Batusa village, was raped. The family was living in great poverty in Pristina, next to the
hospital, in a toolshed which was left there after completion of the building. The girl described her most frightful ordeal on television but the public soon forgot about it under the onslaught of new assaults and rapes which followed within the next days.

In the village of Palez, near Vitina, 14 Serbian girls from 11 Serbian
families were raped by Albanians in one year.

In PEC, in 1983, Albanians set fire to the studio of the artist Radoslav

At the end of June 1986, the whole Serbian village of Batusa fled from the
village to seek refuge in front of the unabated terror. Batusa had been a
Serbian village for centuries. Among the refugees were children, old people
and the dying. Serbian families from other villages joined them. Their attempt to save their lives was thwarted by the local Militia who pillaged the belongings which the refugees were carrying, and beat them up. The refugees were told that they could move away, but only one by one. They were not allowed to leave in groups as that would have constituted a political provocation.

The persecution of our people and our church continues. In August 1988 Mother Tatiana, the Abbess of the 14th century monastery of Gracanica was twice attacked and assaulted.

We must emphasise that the Serbian and other non-Albanian population in the
Kosovo and Metohija regions are not protected by law. Albanians committing
crimes against them have not been prosecuted nor punished. We, Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, will condem any misdeeds by the Serbs against the Albanians, should they happen. At the same time we do appeal to the civilised world to show more understanding for the real suffering of our people and to show concern for their endangered church and tradition in Kosovo and Metohija.

Serbian Orthodox Bishops:

Dr. Firmilijan: Diocese of Midwestern America.

Lavrentije: Diocese of Western Europe.

Hristofor: Diocese of Eastern America.

Georgije: Diocese of Canada.

Longin: Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.