Monday, November 2, 2009

Visiting the destroyed churches of Kosovo

( - On 29 October 2009, the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, on a visit to Kosovo and Metochia at the invitation of Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren, visited the town of Jacovica where the Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed in 1999 and burnt to the ground on 17 March 2004. This church shared the destiny of other thirty-four Orthodox churches in Kosovo and Metochia defiled in one day. The church site is occupied by a part at present.

The hierarchs visited the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God under restoration. After seeing a construction site, Archbishop Hilarion talked with four Serbian women. They are Orthodox Christians, the last innates of the once Serbian town, who live on the church adjacent territory being protected by a policeman. The town is out of bounds for them.

On October 30, Archbishop Hilarion and Bishop Artemije visited the ruins of the Church of the Holy Trinity in the village of Petric built in 1990s by the Serbs who once worked in Russia. All church utensils were made in the workshops of the Moscow Patriarchate. The church was defiled in 1999 and destroyed completely in 2004.

Archbishop Hilarion, Bishop Artemije, and those who accompanied them sang a troparion for the Pentecost and prayed for the rest of the souls of all innocent Orthodox Christians who suffered in Kosovo and Metochia.

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