Page 841 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Whereas the Standing Conference of Canonical Or- thodox Bishops in the americas (SCOBa) is committed to religious freedom, filial love, tolerance, and respect for the religious and cultural heritage and property of all faiths and peoples;
Whereas SCOBa represents over 6 million Orthodox Christians of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the United States of america and Canada;
Whereas SCOBa is grieved by the growing incidence of violence throughout the world against holy sites sacred to Christians, jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other faiths;
Whereas the protection of religious shrines and cul- tural heritage property against acts of violence, intolerance and eradication is the responsibility of every civilized soci- ety, as confirmed by U.N. Resolutions A/RES/56/157 and E/CN4/RES2002/40, et al.
Whereas the principles enshrined in the Universal Dec- laration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, affirm the right of everyone to manifest their reli- gion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance;
Whereas the UNeSCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed Conflict, in force since 1956, prohibits theft, pillage, vandalism, or re- prisals against cultural property during periods of armed conflict, and requires governing authorities to take mea- sures to protect such property;
Whereas UNeSCO Director-General Federico Mayor on May 5, 1999 called for those involved in the Kosovo con- flict to “respect the museums, archives, libraries, religious and educational institutions, as well as monuments and sites that are evidence of the civilization and history of the Re- gion;”
Whereas SCOBa and all Orthodox Christian faithful throughout the world are deeply grieved over the continu- ation of acts of vandalism, pillage and violent destruction that have damaged or destroyed over 120 Orthodox Chris- tian churches, monasteries, and shrines, as well as the des- ecration of numerous Orthodox Christian graves, since the war in Kosovo ended in june 1999;
Whereas the leadership of the World Council of Church- es and of the Conference of european Churches on august 16, 2002 expressed “profound concern at the continued violence facing members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its cultural and spiritual property in Kosovo,” and;
Whereas Reno Harnish, Chief of Mission of the US Of- fice in Priština condemned the recent violence in Kosovo on November 18, 2002, stating: “any attacks on religious sites of any faith are attacks on the very heart and soul of society and should be denounced in the strongest possible terms by all political and religious leaders.”
Therefore, be it resolved that the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the americas (SCOBa): 1. Deeply deplores the most recent violent attacks on the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raška and Prizren in Ko-
sovo and Metohija on November 16 and 17, 2002, which caused extensive damage to the Church of Serbian Saints in Djurakovac and totally destroyed the Church of Saint Basil of Ostrog the Miracle Worker in Ljubovo;
2. Condemns all acts of vandalism, pillage and violent destruction of religious and cultural heritage sites sacred to Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Muslims, jews or any other religious group in Kosovo;
3. joins with the United Nations, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of european Churches, the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the international commu- nity in calling for respect, tolerance and reconciliation among all religious and ethnic communities in Kosovo;
4. Urgently requests the United Nations authorities and NaTO peacekeeping forces in Kosovo to strengthen mea- sures to protect all vulnerable religious property and shrines in Kosovo, and not only those of historical importance, and;
5. Urges the international community, in consultation with the affected religious communities, to support the restoration and reconstruction of all religious and cultural heritage property in Kosovo deliberately vandalized, pil- laged, damaged or destroyed by acts of violence.
December 17, 2002
South Bound Brook, New jersey †archbishop DeMeTRiOS, Chairman Greek Orthodox archdiocese of america †Metropolitan PHiLiP, Vice Chairman antiochian Orthodox Christian archdiocese
of North america
†Metropolitan CHRiSTOPHeR, Secretary Serbian Orthodox Church in the USa and Canada †Metropolitan HeRMaN
Orthodox Church in america
†Metropolitan CONSTaNTiNe
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USa †Metropolitan jOSePH
Bulgarian eastern Orthodox Church
†archbishop NiCOLae
Romanian Orthodox archdiocese in america
and Canada
†Metropolitan NiCHOLaS of amissos american Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
of the USa
†Bishop iLia of Philomelion
albanian Orthodox Diocese of america
Kosovo and Metohija have been throughout the centu- ries populated with Serbs, and up until the great forced migrations of the Serbian people toward the north, in the 17th and 18th centuries, Serbs have always been the majority population in Kosovo and Metohija. it is a generally known historical fact that the medieval center of the Serbian state
a Chronicle of the Contemporary Suffering of Kosovo-Metohian Serbs

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