Destruction of Churches

                                       Destruction of Churches

 

      You don’t hear much in the news about it anymore. It still has many unsolved problems and we still have troops there. The place is Kosovo. The conflict between Serbians and Albanians in Kosovo has not been resolved. The UN and NATO still have a presence in the region but that is not entirely what this article is about.

      It is about the destruction of churches that has taken place in Kosovo. I was working in Kosovo in 2003 and personally saw what was going on and the destruction that was taking place. In 2004 another escalation in the violence saw a new round of churches being burnt down and destroyed. Many of these churches date back to the early beginnings of Christianity during the Byzantine Empire in the region. These churches are not just places of worship but are also an important artistic and cultural part of our world heritage.

       The churches were vandalized and destroyed by ethnic Albanians in an attempt to remove the Serbian presence from the region. In the months of June through October of 1999, 76 religious sites were desecrated in one form or another. In March of 2004, 17 churches, monasteries and convents were looted and set on fire in just two days. As of 3 April 2007 the Visoki Descani monastery was targeted by a mortar attack, the 23 since 1999.

        This is a world problem that needs to be addressed. Organizations like UNESCO and NATO must do more than has been done. These sites are in need of restoration and preservation. The problem of historic sites around the world being destroyed is on going with no end in site. All people around the world must step up to protect our past.