Historian Aleksandar Raković commented for Politika on the reason why authorities in Priština do not want to return 24 hectares of land to the Visoki Dečani Monastery, even though the so-called Constitutional Court of Kosovo* rules that the property must be restored.

Raković said to Politika that if the aforementioned 24 hectares were restored, that may open the door to resuming the conversation about restoring the rest of the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church that had been confiscated from it by the communist authorities.

Further, Raković emphasized that he does not expect the Kosovo Albanians to ever restore the land to the Visoki Dečani monastery. He pointed out that the issue is not just about this property, because it would open legal doors for restoring around 800 hectares of land to the Patriarchate of Peć, as well as many other Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija.

“It is their goal to confiscate, steal and take everything they possibly can from the Serbian Orthodox Church, including the monasteries and churches themselves, as they attempted when they bid for full membership in UNESCO in 2015. This is a constant feature in the Albanian separatist policy that is unlikely to change,” believes Raković.

Apart from that, Raković added that there were three possible solutions to this issue, if someone from the West were to force the Kosovo Albanians to respect the immovable property of others, which is heavily supported by evidence.

“Either restore the land to Visoki Dečani, or exchange it for another piece of land, or financially compensate the Serbian Orthodox Church,” clarified Raković.

“I sincerely do not believe that we can expect anything good from the Albanians, since there is a double standard not limited to this case. One set of rules applies to the Serbs, and another to the Albanians. I remember when they were supposed to restore land to the Patriarchate of Peć, which was intended for cattle grazing. The Italians nodded their heads and said “it will be done”, but that never happened. We should not give up, but remain persistent and continue to ask for the land to be restored, and someday a new set of international circumstances will open the possibility to restore the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija,” concluded Raković.