2012-07-24 15:49:00

Kosovo Orthodox church desecrated

Moscow, July 24, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations has voiced concern over a recent attack on the Archangel Michael Church in the town of Stimlje, Kosovo.

"The church was robbed and desecrated. Unknown vandals intentionally damaged some of the church's frescoes. They damaged the paint on the faces of some saints. There was a lot of garbage, dirt and dead birds inside the church building," the department said on its website.

Part of Kosovo's population stays "as intolerant toward the Orthodox Church as before," it said.

"Among other incidents, it can be confirmed by an attack motivated by ethnic and religious hatred, which was staged on June 13, 2012, by several residents of Kosovo's Mitrovica on Orthodox monk Mitrofan, who was then rushed to the city hospital's surgery department with serious injuries to his head and arms," it said.

"The Russian Orthodox Church is deeply troubled by continuing extremist attacks on churches, priests, monks and secular people of the Serb Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija because these attacks expose the absence of effective measures on the part of the international community and the authorities of the province to protect them," the department said.

The Archangel Michael Church in Stimlje was built in 1920-22 and its frescoes were painted by famous Serb artist Uros Predic. Some of the church's icons were destroyed when arsonists set fire to the building in August 1999. The church was desecrated several times in 2004.

A UNESCO-led effort to restore the church was launched in 2009.