Russian senator urges creation of intl fund to protect Kosovo holy sites

Alexander Torshin, first deputy speaker of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, has proposed establishing an international fund to protect holy sites in Kosovo. "It is necessary to set up a fund that would be international and would be responsible for helping rebuild, maintain and, should such a need arise, protect Orthodox churches and monasteries in Serbia's enclaves of Kosovo and Metohija," Torshin told Interfax on Tuesday.

The Russian senator discussed this initiative during a visit to Kosovo, where he attended the enthronization of Serbian Patriarch Irinej.

"I discussed this idea with representatives from Italy, Germany, the U.S. and other countries, as well as separately with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, where it was met with understanding," he said.

The enthronization of the Serbian Patriarch was a landmark event, he said.

"The ceremony was held in Serbia's southern territory of Kosovo and Metohija, which declared independence from Belgrade in 2008. The ceremony proceeded in a calm atmosphere and without any difficulties. It involved several thousand worshippers from Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is particularly noteworthy that our delegation's participation was met with applause," Torshin said.

The current situation in Kosovo and Metohija requires urgent measures to help the fraternal Serbian people preserve holy sites located there, the Russian senator said.

Source: Interfax religion