Father Demetrios Serfes - Missionary Support
Appeal For Prayer For The Decani Monastery and Surrounding Grounds
June 21, 2000

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The Decani Monastery Relief Fund
Established in
October 1998
Rev. Demetrios Serfes (Boise, Idaho)
Vice President:
Hieromonk Sava (Decani Monastery, Kosovo)
Secretary & Treasurer:
Veljko Sikirica (Besthesda, Maryland)
Our Patron Saint is
St. Sava of Serbia!
With the support and blessings of
  • His Holiness Patriarch Barthomew I, and the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

  • His Grace Bishop Aretemije, Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska Prizren, Kosovo.

  • Hieromonk Theodosius Abbot and Hieromonk Sava, the Decani Monastery, Kosovo.

  • His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah, Presiding Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver.

  • His Grace Bishop Kallistos on behalf of the Friends of Mt. Athos.

  • The Orthodox Peace Fellowship of the Protection of the Mother of God. The Netherlands.


    Albanians Destroying the Most Beautiful Monastery Forest with UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) Written Permission.

    I am taking this opportunity to inform you about very deplorable events which happened around Decani monastery in the last few days. According to the written permission of the municipal administrator for Decani Ms. Helina Kokarinnen, local Albanian contractors were allowed to start cutting the monastery century old pine wood just 50 m above monastery of Decani. The cutting of wood was in fact a preparation for the building of a water tower which is a part of a larger project of enlargement of the water system for Decani. This project is undertaken by the Italian Company COOPI. According to the information received yesterday from COOPI the plan was made in September 1999 and was approved by local UNMIK office.

    Neither the UNMIK administrator nor KFOR authorities or COOPI ever contacted the Monastery authorities about this undertaking, although the cutting of the wood and the clearing of the ground for a water tower is done on the property of Decani Monastery. The monks have reacted the very first day and requested from KFOR to stop the destruction of the monastery forest but KFOR answered with almost two days of delay granting the security to the monks to go to the location just 50 meters from the monastery. The monks had not dared go alone because of constant danger from Kosovo Albanians who had even launched a mortar attacks three months ago against the monastery and make great pressures against the brotherhood.

    The consequences of this illegal operation are deplorable. More than 40 cubic meters of pine wood have been cut and stolen by ethnic Albanians in their trucks ( 8 big trees). At least 20 more trees have been burned because the contractors wanted to be sure that the terrain is not mined and conduct a mine-clearing operation destroying many other trees in the area. It is very important to know that this wood had been planted three centuries ago by Decani monks and majority of the cut pines, which were a landmark of Decani Monastery, are more than 150 years old. Therefore this is not only an issue of violation of the private property by UN authorities and KFOR but also an environmental violation of one of the most beautiful and oldest pine forest in Kosovo.

    Decani Monastery and the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Kosovo and Metohija have condemned this illegal act in strongest terms. The Church will ask from the Special Representative of the Secretary General Dr. Bernard Kouchner to launch a full investigation on this issue and the recompensation for the done damage.


    Copy of the letter by which the UN administrator Ms Helina Kokarinnen granted a written permission to Kosovo Albanian contractor to cut unspecified number of trees in the monastery forest. Ms. Kokarinnen in her conversation with the monks behaved as if she did not know exactly what it was all about. This morning she left to Finland without any explanation to the monastery which requested an urgent meeting for today.

    To KFOR -- Decan/Decani

    June 14, 2000

    I have discussed with Nue Mulaj who is working for the organization COOPI (ID card no 26) as an excavator driver. Nue Mulaj is ready to cut the trees needed for water supply working. According to Mr. Mulaj he has agreed about cutting and caring the trees with COOPI, wood company Djeravica and KFOR representative. Mr. Mulaj can take and carry the trees for free from the forest.

    Helina Kokarinen
    Municipal administrator Municipality of Decan/Decani

    With this letter which was shown by KFOR to the Monastery Authorities (we have a copy) it is evident that UNMIK administrator knew all from the beginning and in fact issued a blank permission to Kosovo Albanians to cut as many trees they like. From COOPI authorities the Monastery learned that the location for this water tower was chosen by Albanians and that from the technical point of view the tower may have been constructed on another location. The monastery authorities think that the local Albanians deliberately chose this location in order to make a pressure on the monastery, violate its property and steal the valuable pine trees free. It is sad that UNMIK and KFOR played such a deplorable role in all this.

    Fr. Sava


    Sat phone: +870-762-146-565
    Mobile phone: +381-63-371-909
    Fax (voice mail) +44-207-681-2601

    Latest News from Kosovo can be found at http://www.egroups.com/group/decani.

    Holy Saint Sava,
    Pray Unto God For Us!

    Holy New Martyr Stefan,
    Pray Unto God For Us!


    Content written/compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes.
    Posted on June 10, 2000
    (c)1999 Father Demetrios Serfes