Russian Church slams reported attack on Serbian monk in Kosovo

A group of young ethnic Albanians beat up and hurled stones at a monk at a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Kosovo, the Russian Orthodox Church said on Thursday.

The Monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian near the town of Orahovac, the site of the attack, is officially under the protection of the Kosovo police.

The assault on monk Dionisije was the latest in a series of incidents "that have marred the life of Orthodox believers in [Kosovo] province over the past few months," the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations said in a statement.

"The assault was perpetrated three hours after the monastery was visited by the commander of the German contingent of the Kosovo Force, and this makes this extremist act even more brazen," it said.

On the day of the incident, an allegedly terrorist ethnic Albanian group disseminated leaflets with threats of violence against ethnic Serbs who refuse to leave Kosovo.

"The beating up of monk Dionisije has given rise to concern in the Russian Orthodox Church. The incident must receive an appropriate legal qualification and become one more reminder of the need for measures to protect the churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church," the department said.