On Orthodox Church Initiative, Chaplains To Get Together In Belgrade, Kosovo

An international meeting of chaplains, representing all beliefs to be found in the international peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, will open in the Yugoslav capital on Monday. The get-together will last until May 3 and will take place in Belgrade, as well as the Gracanica monastery in Kosovo. The meeting is held at the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church in a bid to draw the attention of the world public to the problem of Orthodox churches and monasteries being destroyed in Kosovo. Serbian Patriarch Pavle and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II have given their blessing to discussion of this issue. Since the time when an international peacekeeper force has been introduced into Kosovo in June 1999, ninety seven churches and monasteries have been destroyed there. Among them are 13th-14th-century structures, seen as assets of world culture. Participants in this meeting will send their conclusions to the heads of states, heads of different confessions, the UNESCO commission for protection of values. On May 1 Patriarch Pavle will serve a mass for participants in this meeting in the Belgrade cathedral. On the same day Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica will give a reception for them.

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