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  • Writer's pictureFr. Nektarios Serfes

What I saw while in Kosovo/Metohija

Why am I appealing to you God loving brothers and sisters in our Lord to help support the Decani Monastery Relief Fund? These are the following reasons: What I saw in Kosovo/Metohija for the fourteen time I was in the region since in 1999, and I pray to our God to return again for the fifteen time in offering humanitarian assistance for the much suffering and struggling Serbian Orthodox Christians in October 2020. With the will of God! What I saw several churches and monasteries destroyed and damaged –it was told to me 150 of these churches and monastery where destroyed since the war began from March 1999 up until this day. In the meantime less than ten monasteries and churches have been somewhat repaired. What I saw families living the mountain areas who previously lost their homes. What I saw was Serbian Orthodox cemeteries with crosses on the ground, and bones of animals on top of the graves. I even saw a women on the ground weeping for her lost young nephew destroyed grave site. I was told with great saddens that more than 400 hundred cemeteries where destroyed throughout the region. I would see from traveling throughout the region Orthodox cemeteries grass surrounding the graves. I learned this happens in fear families would be threatened if they visit the graves. What I saw in Kosovo/Metohija: empty graves where bodies were taken out.

What I saw: in squares of towns and villages where churches once existed and no longer in existence and made out of parks. What I saw when I visited a few Serbian Orthodox Churches that where no longer able to have services as it will take generations to repair due to damages. I saw monasteries that were destroyed and in needed repair. I also saw destroyed monastery buildings that need to be also repaired for the monks and nuns. I saw families living in containers. I saw empty graves where bodies have been taken out. I saw homes with bullets in the walls and trash thrown out side of their homes. As well I saw trash thrown in the rivers along the roads. I saw when I visited homes in the regions how cold it was as all gathered as a family in one room with a single fire wood stove to keep them warm in the kitchen. The other rooms in the house where closed due to the server winter months.

I also saw some families didn’t have a decent refrigerator, cooking stove, or even a freezer. I saw while visiting the homes that the lights where turned off for several hours, in the hopes their food would not perish. I saw schools that had no heat and when the children would play outside would bring one log to keep their rooms warm in their new fire wood stove. Children asked me to bring basketballs to play outside and to throw freebies. I also saw the children didn’t have a decent coat to keep warm. I saw children that didn’t have scarfs, a pair of gloves, and a hat to keep warm, as well even a pair of descent shoes. I saw homes that didn’t have windows and very limited furniture as their homes where recently attacked, and I saw homes that badly needed repaired. I saw and visited the soup kitchens in the region, and noted they would be feeding more than 2,000 a day did which did not have a decent oven, or refrigerator. Our fund helped purchase a new oven and refrigerator, I also saw that when food was delivered to villages that where using the back of their cars, and so we sought to help them get a new truck. I also learned that food in the six existing soup kitchens food was limited due to the tariffs at the borders. I saw and learned that the local schools could only serve one meal day, and the early breakfast had to be cancelled. I saw long lines with families going to the local soup kitchens to obtain soup and bread. I also saw an increase of soup kitchens from three to six, and I saw dedicated workers at the soup kitchens wondering if food arrive due to the tariffs at the borders. I saw homes that had one pig and sooner or later it was stolen, and even their chickens, cows, tractors, and firewood. I also saw that families had to put their fire wood in their homes for safe keeping. I saw that Kosovo/Metohija that medical equipment is needed for the local hospitals and ambulances. Keep in mind two existing hospital in the region for Serbs. For serious needs the patients have to be driven to Belgrade.

I saw children and youth that have lost weight over the period of my fourteen times to the region, as well as children in need of shoes, and winter coats for the winter.

I saw icons in the homes of Serbian Orthodox where they all gathered often to pray since their church was destroyed. I saw many Serbian Orthodox wearing prayer ropes as well as even the children. To me it amazed me how important this prayer is for them as a mean of spiritual comfort. Now our Serbian Orthodox brothers and sisters are asking for your prayers and for you to consider making a donation to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund.

You can send your loving donation to the following address:

Decani Monastery Relief Fund C/O Very Reverend Nektarios Serfes 2618 West Bannock Street Boise, Idaho 83702

God bless your good heart and assurance of my prayers!

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