Pristina: Orthodox chapel turned into public restroom; Bishop: Lack of basic civilization norms

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PRISTINA – Recently renovated and cleaned cemetery chapel in Pristina was turned into a public restroom and garbage dump, and several orthodox graves are overgrown with weeds, said the Dioceses of Raska and Prizren.

Such a situation exists despite the fact that municipal community service is allegedly in charge of taking care of the cemetery and that a paid cemetery guard is provided, says the Diocese.

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“During the course of the visit of the Orthodox cemetery in Pristina, priest Sasa Mitrovic encountered a sad and sickening picture. Recently renovated and cleaned cemetery chapel was turned into a public restroom and garbage dump, and several graves are overgrown with weeds,” says the Diocese’s statement.

These photographs show similar situation as in the Temple of Christ the Savior in the city center, where the Diocese of Raska and Prizren has recently decided to clean its temple, to which responded the municipality of Pristina and sent an inspection (without a warrant) which banned further cleaning of the temple.

“Given that Mitrovdan memorial day is near and that numerous believers from Pristina, of which most are not able to live freely in their home town and return to it, will visit their graves. The Diocese will have to organize cleaning of both the cemetery chapel and the cemetery,” says the statement.

Diocese raises the question whether the mayor of Pristina will once again be eager to send inspection and prevent cleaning of the temple as he was so far in not undertaking any measures to have Christian Orthodox buildings used as public restrooms.

Bishop Teodosije said that it is painful and difficult that in the “capital city of Kosovo” in 21st century Christian buildings are used as public restrooms.

“It is a frightening reflection of neglect and lack of basic civilization norms. Mayor of Pristina Shpend Ahmeti recently said in an interview with KiM radio that municipality is not responsible to check whether places of worship are desecrated and damaged, so nothing was done during the desecration and arson in the Temple of Christ the Savior.

However, as Ahmeti said, the municipality has responsibility to prevent any kind of works in these facilities (including cleaning and painting). Such abuses of religious freedoms are a disgraces for Kosovo society,” said Teodosije stressing that no one can prevent Church from preserving the dignity of its facilities from those who persistently desecrate them.

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