His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovac
His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, and the Synod
of Bishops of the Patriarchate
His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah, Presiding Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese
The Friends Of Mt. Athos (in America): The Hon. Sir Steven Runciman, C.H.
His Grace Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia.
Dear Friends In Christ Our Lord,
Thanks to God! We would like to humbly thank the kind souls who made Christ-loving donations to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund during the months of April, May, June, and July 2002.
By your kind donations, we can assist the much needs such as the Children's Relief Campaign, the Satellite Internet Fund for the Decani Monastery, the assistance for General Need's such as food, shelter, and follow-up for medical assistance. Truly what a blessed hour, since so many struggling and suffering souls in Kosovo and Metohija will be assisted by your great Christian love and help! May our Lord God reward you for your help!
The matter of sufferings continue however since the last time we reported you in regards to the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija, the destruction and damages of the Serbian Orthodox Churches and Monasteries has now risen to 112, and several Serbian Orthodox cemeteries have also been damaged, including even monastic graves.
The situation is that many Serbian citizens have to live in total isolation, in fear of their lives, as they are constantly in fear of travel throughout the regions of Kosovo and Metohija.
The matter of local hospitals including mental hospitals have become deplorable in helping the necessary needs of both adults, which well includes the elderly, and children, which are known to have become neglected, as even the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren Kosovo and Metohija, seek out to offer assistance but denied even at times access to help in the needs of those in these local hospitals, and which well include the mental hospitals, and the elderly! Serbian doctors cannot access to the great abundant needs of these citizens, as they even have offered assistance to any citizen no matter what ethnic background. It's almost impossible for a Serbian doctor to perform his medical duties throughout these regions, simply because he is Serbian. The matter is that those who are very ill and need further medical follow up must be quickly transferred if possible (as travel is very dangerous) to a hospital in Belgrade.
Then we have a URGENT matter : The local municipal court in Decani are seeking to take land from Decani Monastery from this 14th century monastic community, and this matter continues to get out of hand, and even if a portion of this land is taken from the monastery, more land, and the actual compound of the whole Monastery will be next. This land on the grounds of the Decani Monastery does not belong to no one but the Decani monastic community, we appeal to you to please seek further protection for this land, and monastery, as well as assist our Decani Monastery Relief Fund so that we can help the efforts of the Decani Monastery to justly recover their right use freely the land that belongs to this Monastery. Please kindly read the following URGENT report from the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren:
Subject: LOCAL COURT IN DECANI ILLEGALLY TAKES AWAY MONASTERY LAND
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 15:48:46
URGENT ..... URGENT ..... URGENT
INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOCAL COURT IN DECANI ILLEGALLY TAKES AWAY MONASTERY LAND
Judge Haki Balaj "annuls" decision of the Serbian Government
Visoki Decani, August 9, 2002
On Friday, August 2, 2002, after nine consecutive sessions the muncipal
court in Decani, with Judge Haki Balaj presiding, annulled the decision
of the Government of the Republic of Serbia from 1997 returning to the
Monastery of Visoki Decani a part of the land which was nationalized
illegally and without compensation in 1946.
For more than three years there has been continuous pressure from the
Decani municipality to deprive the monastery brethren of their right to
use the land returned to the monastery by a special contract with the
Government of the Republic of Serbia in 1997. This includes two land
parcels totalling 23.45 hectares in immediately proximity to the
monastery which were, together with 700 additional hectares of monastery
property, illegally nationalized in 1946. For years the monastery
unsuccessfully sought to correct this injustice and return at least a
part of its property; however, the local authorities had simply
distributed the greater part of the monastery land into the private
hands of Albanians, who built their houses on it.
Built on the two above mentioned and now contested land parcels over
time were the Visoki Decani Motel, in the forest immediately above the
monastery, and "Apiko", a small honey-packing plant; both of these were
abandoned and have been closed since the beginning of the 1990's.
Finally in 1997 the monastery succeeded in getting these two land
parcels and the buildings on them back from the Government of the
Republic of Serbia. The contract with the Government of the Republic of
Serbia was duly processed and recorded in all relevant land registry
books, and the brethren began to use their property, which had belonged
to the Monastery of Visoki Decani for centuries.
After the war the newly established Albanian municipal authorities
immediately contested the decision of the Government of the Republic of
Serbia and sought every possible means to take away this land from the
monastery. In 2000, because of the firm position of the monastery
brotherhood on the property issue, two mortar attacks were launched
against the monastery in which, fortunately, no one was injured. KFOR
secured all monastery property and UNMIK head Dr. Bernard Kouchner
issued a special letter confirming the right of the monastery to use its
own land. However, the municipal authorities pursued the matter and
immediately filed a petition which has, in the meanwhile, been
transferred to the district court in Pec, only to be bounced back to the
municipal court in Decani. The monastery brotherhood did not attend
hearings for the simple reason that the municipal court has no
jurisdiction in this type of case and because it considered such acts on
the part of local municipal authorities to be blatant examples of
The municipal court based its decision on unfounded facts and inaccurate
information with the intent of proving the illegality of the decision of
the Government of the Republic of Serbia. Special significance was given
to UNMIK Regulation 1999/24, according to which all contracts concluded
after March 22, 1989 are supposedly "illegal". The best evidence of the
arbitrary interpretation of this regulation is the fact that the
Albanians are not contesting any of the contracts concluded in the last
ten years which are to their benefit.
The Monastery of Visoki Decani will seek protection from UNMIK from
blatant institutional repression waged against the last remaining Serb
enclave in Decani municipality. While hundreds of hectares of
privately-held land owned by Serbs have been usurped by the Albanians
and state-owned property is being illegally appropriated left and right,
UNMIK must nevertheless seek to protect the legitimate rights of the
monastery which desires to preserve its property and which is essential
to its economic survival. The monastery will also officially seek the
assistance of the Government of the Republic of Serbia which must not
allow its decisions to be annulled by court institutions without
jurisdiction or objectivity.
Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija,
Fr. Sava (Janjic) firstname.lastname@example.org
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren http://www.decani.yunet.com
Veljko Sikirica the Secretary-Treasure has now submitted for consideration the Decani Monastery Relief Fund Report for April, May, June and July 2002:
Decani Monastery Relief Contributions for April 2002 - July 2002
Children's Relief Campaign:
Peter & Magdaline Bouras
Luke & Gloria Buyenovich
Miljana Bovan & Rasko Ojdrovic
Joseph & Annette Chinn
Cahterine & Alesander Bizakis
First Church in Chestnut Hill
Children's Relief Campaign: Sub-total $1,370.00
Satellite Internet Fund For the Decani Monastery
Josif & Kathleen Djordjevich
Marko & Milena Kerkez
Joel E. Cloeter
Anonymous from Slovenia
Satellite Internet Fund For the Decani Monastery: Sub-total $1,233.00
Thank you humbly for your gracious donations, as every kind loving soul will be remember in prayer, as these names are sent to the Decani Monastery.
We ask for your loving prayers, and it's our prayer that our Gracious Lord God will bless you with His Right Hand. If you would like to help the Decani Monastery Relief Fund with a donation of your choice please send it to the following address:
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
c/o Veljko Sikirica
4 West Hill Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
If you would also like to have a tax deductible report
for your donation, please indicate this when you send in your donation.