Albanian self-proclaimed “priest” seizes Serbian Church temple in Kosovo

02 December 2023 12:29
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Nikolla Xhufka. Photo: eparhija-prizren.com Nikolla Xhufka. Photo: eparhija-prizren.com

Nikolla Xhufka, with the support of the Kosovo authorities and hiding behind patriotic slogans, seized the temple of the Serbian Church.

On 28 November 2023, "priest" Nikolla Xhufka performed a "church rite" in the church of St. Michael the Archangel in the village of Rakinicë, Podujevo municipality in Kosovo, according to the website of the Raska-Prizren diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

"This is a gross attack on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church with the aim of spreading ethnic and religious hatred and instability in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija," the diocese believes.

They reported that "representatives of the Podujevo municipality also participated in this looting and desecration of the Serbian Orthodox church, built in the 15th century and later renovated."

According to local media reports, the invaders aimed to declare this temple as the "Fan Noli Church", belonging to the self-proclaimed "Albanian National Orthodox Church from Elbasan".

"This criminal act is just another in a series aimed at looting the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church, that is, 'Albanization' or 'Kosovarization' of our spiritual and cultural heritage," the Raska-Prizren Diocese is convinced.

In the Albanian Church, they explained that Nikolla Xhufka is a citizen of the Republic of Albania from Elbasan and cannot call himself a "priest".

N. Xhufka claims that he was ordained by a person of Serbian-Romanian origin with no connection to the Orthodox Church and not being its clergy.

"Nikolla represents only himself; he has neither a church nor a congregation, despite his pompous statements that he occasionally makes in the media," said the Albanian Church.

They also explained that Xhufka "serves" in the basement of his house, openly misleading the public in the media that it is a "paleochristian catacomb church".

N. Xhufka makes "patriotic' statements", "simultaneously ridiculing and despising Albanian Orthodox clergy, as well as threatening and mocking the authority of religious leaders and clergy of other denominations."

"This person is not subject to any church authority and is not accountable for his actions. His only interest is media propaganda and attracting public attention, regardless of the damage it may cause to the reputation of the sacred office and the Orthodox faith," the Albanian Church believes.

In connection with the violent break-in and unauthorized use of the Serbian Orthodox Church building in the village of Rakinicë, the Raska-Prizren Diocese will initiate a criminal case against Nikolla Xhufka and will demand that the police investigate the involvement of representatives of the Podujevo municipality in this criminal act.

Earlier, the UOJ reported that a Serbian Orthodox Church temple was robbed and desecrated in Kosovo.

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