Destruction of Orthodox Christian Heritage by Albanian Extremists in Macedonia*

* We only technically use the name of Macedonia which
is in fact officially known as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

After the war in Kosovo 1998-1999 Kosovo Albanian extremists and their paramilitary organization UCK (KLA) began systematic destruction of Orthodox Christian monuments in Kosovo and Metohija with the goal of changing the cultural and religious identity of the province. Soon after their military leaders made plans to export violence to the neighboring republic of Macedonia. Despite the strong NATO presence in Kosovo as well as their observers and logistic bases in Macedonia Albanian terrorists with the assistance of international criminal gangs and islamic fanatics close to Bin Laden began a series of terrorist attacks with the goal to create instability in Macedonia and initiate a division of the republic. After this creation of Greater Kosovo or Greater Albania as exclusively Albanian ethnic areas could be realised.

One of the most important obstacles to this political and military goal is the fact that in Kosovo and Metohija as well as in Macedonia there are numerous Orthodox Christian shrines and monuments of worldwide renown which testify that this area has never been historically Albanian and that it was only during the Turkish occupation that Albanian Moslems as priviledged population spreaded in this region. That is why Albanian extremists both in Kosovo and Macedonia began devastation of Orthodox Christian culture in order to create not only ethnically but culturally and religiously clean Albanian Moslem territory as a base for further expansion in the Balkans.

Beside destruction and desecration of the Orthodox Christian monuments in Kosovo and Metohija (more than 100 after June 1999) since this summer more than twentyimportant Orthodox Christian shrines have been desecrated or completely destroyed in Macedonia. Among them are Leshok Monastery, Matejce Monastery and church of St. George in Recica. How long it will take for Christian leaders of Europe and America to understand that Albanian expansion in the Balkans creates a base for the expansion of Islam in the heart of Europe?

photo: Monastery of Matejce - UCK symbol on the western church wall painted with 14th century frescoes and a UCK man with weapons in the church

Terrorists Destroy Monuments of Culture One by One- Dramatic Disappearance of Evidence About Macedonia

Cultural Monuments : More

TETOVO - In the past six months over 20 churches and monasteries in the Tetovo area, situated in the areas of military activities, are destroyed, burnt down or damaged. Albanian terrorists have reached for the sacral objects, for those that represent symbols of the Christianity and orthodoxy, for values that mark the history and the tradition. A part of them were placed under the protection of the state. The last of those objects was the religious temple "Sv. Atanasie" in Leshok village. The artefacts of this cathedral date back to 14th century A.D., and given the numerous features and meanings, they represents the pride of the whole Polog Christianity, of the Orthodox Church in Macedonia, as well as of the culture, art and literature in Macedonia.



Monastery of Matejce built by Serbian Emperor Dusan the Mighty (14th) century

One of the most important shrine of Orthodox Macedonians and Serbs

History of the Monastery

The monastery of Matejce is one of those monasteries in Macedonia that were built high up in the mountains at 1005 meters above sea level, on the southeastern side of the mountain Skopska Crna Gora, the Kumanovo side.
The monastery consists of a church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God and the residential part, which is now renovated and adapted for tourists.
We learn about the history of the church from the Serbian king Milutin’s written testimonials from 1300, which note that his son, Czar Dusan began its construction on the foundation of an old church dedicated to St. Mary Mother of God of Monte Negro. The fact that this czar started building the church is also mentioned in the biography of Czar Uros, the last Serbian ruler of Nemanjic dynasty. It states that after Czar Dusan’s death, his wife Elena and his son Uros had the church finished and painted inside.
According to some written sources, until the Second World War there used to be a chapel inside the altar of the church that came from the 12th century. The church was restored in 1934, 1953 and 1960, after a long period of negligence.
From an architectural point of view, the structure has five cupolas on the basis of a cross.
The central cupola has twelve sides and the other four smaller cupolas stand on the angles of the basis. The outside of the altar apse has five sides and is decorated with bricklayers. Pilasters and blind arcade can be seen on the facade.
The hagiographic icons from the 14th century, which fill the interior of the church, are rather damaged. Some depictions of the life of Christ and Mother of God have been saved. On the west wall there are remains that show the vineyards of Byzantine emperors whereas the south wall presents Czar Dusan, Czarina Elena and their son Uros.
What makes this church interesting are the numerous inscriptions. One of them is the one that mentions the year 1568, when archbishop Nikifor of Skopje died. There is also the inscription of Kiril Pejcinovic, the great Macedonian religious and enlightenment missionary from the 19th century.


Serbian Orthodox Church officialy has jurisdiction over the Orthodox community in Macedonia. Self proclaimed independent Macedonian Orthodox Church appeared when the Macedonian dioceses split from its jurisdictional unity with the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1964. The MPC since then remains officialy unrecognized in the family of Orthodox Christian Churches. Serbian Orthodox Church is therefore directly concerned about the destruction of its religious and spiritual heritage on the territory of Macedonia. Great number of medieval Orthodox churches in Macedonia, especially in Tetovo, Kumanovo and Skopje area were built by Serbian medieval kings and nobility, the fact which modern Macedonian historians systematically avoid.

Matejce Monastery

Matejce Monastery with Albanian extremists who made their camp here and a few months when Orthodox faithful were allowed to pray under the desecrated frescoes with UCK graffitti.


(Nova Makedonija, 1.11.2001.) - Albanian terrorist gangs set fire in the premises of church “St. Spas” in Matejce, which are fully burned down. None of the Albanians in the village tried to extinguish the fire, a fact that shows the fire was set by terrorist arsonists. Police sources say that the Internal Ministry is already on the trace of the ones who set the fire, against whom criminal charges will be brought. During the visit of Opae village, Chairman of Coordination Body for Crisis Management Ilija Filipovski was acquainted with the problems that displaced persons face with in the course of their return to the homes. He was also acquainted with the requests for an organized convoy for Macedonians and Serbs to visit Matejce village.

After the visit of Opae village, representatives of the Coordination Body had talks in Kumanovo community about the problems in high school education in Albanian.

Fresco of St. Peter Apostle (14th) century with profanized by Albanian
terrorists (Diego Armando Maradona is written)



(Mia,21.08.2001.) - The Albanian terrorists destroyed completely the church St. Athanasius, within the complex of Leshok monastery in the Tetovo village of Leshok. Destroyed are the monastery building, the valuable icons and frescoes and the wood-carved altar.
The monastery has been occupied for several months now, and it is believed that it was selected because it is one of the pillars of the Macedonian orthodox Christian religion and it is the location of the tomb of Kiril Pejcinovik, a 19th century educator and enlightener.
The site was visited by the team of the Macedonian Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments and an OSCE team of observers.
The Minister of Culture of Republic of Macedonia in her statement sharply condemned the act of violence against the culture of Macedonia and the cultural treasure of the global civilization, comparing it only to the destruction of the Buddha monuments in Afghanistan.

Leshok Monastery

The scenes of utmost barbarism and profanity
An Orthodox Christian monastery devastated by ethnic Albanian extremists

Leshok Monastery

From the Inspection of the Destroyed Church of “St. Atanasie and St. Lazar” from the Monastery of Leshok - ONLY THE CHURCH NARTHEX REMAINED

(Vecer,24.08.2001.) - What was left from the Church of “St. Atanasie and St. Lazar” from the Monastery of Leshok, destroyed with the explosive planted by the Albanian terrorists on August 21, at 03.10 in the morning, is the entrance hall with the narthex and the two domes from the Northern and Southern side. What is visible from the outside is the pentagonal apside, but what else is left no one can say for sure because it is buried under the ruins..., it is said in the report from the inspection made by the Republic Institute for Protection of Monuments of Culture team (consisting of Milan Ivanovski, archeologist and conservator and Vlado Kiprijanovski, photographer and record keeper) who managed to arrive yesterday in the ruined church and made an inspection of what was left from this monument of culture, informed the director of the Institute, Jovan Kondijanov.

The explosive that destroyed the church was placed at the supporting columns of the central dome.

The dwelling premises were slightly damaged (broken window glasses) as a result of the detonation during the explosion, while the open porch with the dining room, the old dwelling premises as well as the small church dedicated to the Holy Mary are in a better situation. Cyril Pejcinovic’s tomb at the northwestern corner of the grave board is damaged from the pieces falling from the church during the explosion, 30 to 40 meters.

Also, the inspection found wooden parts from the altar. They were collected and taken to the Institute to be conserved and placed where they belong if the church is reconstructed. However, during the inspections icons and other church inventory were not found, so it is believed that they are still under the ruins of the southeastern side of the church.

The part that was left, the entrance hall with the narthex, has an enormous fissure where the tetragons are separated from the facade, while inside parts from the roof and the gallery situated above the aertex are hanging. As the members of the team said, due to security reasons nothing has been inspected under the ruins.

The director Kondijanov informed that plans have been made for the church to be reconstructed and used as an orthodox temple when the time permits.


The church of St. George at Recica burned by Albanian terrorists
December 10, 2001

Latest Act of Vandalism of Terrorists in Tetovo Area- Monastery “St. Gjorgi” in Mala Recica Burnt

Monastery “St. Gjorgi” in village Mala Recica

(Vest, 10.12.2001) - The fire in this sanctuary of Macedonians in Tetovo area was set on Saturday evening, right before the holiday. The fire destroyed everything, while the fire fighters managed to salvage only the monastery shelter - Albanian terrorists burnt monastery “St. Gjorgi” in village Mala Recica, near Tetovo on Saturday evening. According to police sources, the fire was set in the late afternoon and it destroyed everything in the object. After the fire had been reported, fire fighters arrived without a police accompaniment around 18,00h and managed to salvage only the monastery shelter. According to the claims from the fire fighters, there were traces of prior demolition and robbing at the site. The fire was set right before the day of celebration of holiday St. Gjorgji.

This monastery, which is popular among people from the Polog area, was built 80 years ago, on the foundations of a monastery church that had been built 9 centuries ago. The number of destroyed, burnt, robbed or desecrated objects of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Tetovo area has been enlarged to more than 30 in the last 6 months.

St. George Church

Web posted
December 10, 2001

Macedonian Media, MakFax,

Albanian Terrorists Burned Another Monastery

On Saturday, the night before a religious holliday, Albanian terrorists in Tetovo burned the church St Gjorgjija.

Just night before the same holliday St. Gjorgjija, the terrorist burned down the small but monastery with big cultural value for Macedonia.

St Gjorgjija, in Golema Rechica, Tetovo area, dated from 14.bc, was a monument of culture protected by the law, but obviously, not from the terrorists law.

NATO, OSCE, and the Macedonian Forces, while conducting an investigation, had to leave the scene, due to sporadic shootings in the same area.

The church of St. Gjorgjija dating back to 14th century in the village of Golema Rechica was destroyed on Saturday in a fire set by unknown persons. The fire burned its walls, frescos, icons, screen and the auxiliary facility sheltering the kitchen. An Albanian from the village of Golema Rechica was the first to report about the fire. When the fire-fighting squad and the OSCE mission arrived at the spot, the church was already burnt to the ground. Golema Rechica is not under Macedonian control. The Macedonian police were allowed to move into the village as late as yesterday together with OSCE and NATO representatives.

According to the Crisis Management Center, another act of vandalism took place a little later in the complex of the church of St. Gjorgjija. Unknown persons set ablaze the inner part of the lodging area in close proximity to the church. As the police were examining the site, shots were heard around the complex. The church of St. Gjorgjija is mentioned in the church records of 13th century. During the Ottoman Empire, it was torn down twice. In 1920 a new church was built that was refurbished in 1965. It was then that ones of the most beautiful lodgings were built. On May 6 and December 9, the patron saint of the church is honored. In the past several months, the church had no priest because of the military crisis.

The Ministry of Culture condemned the act of vandalism over this monument whose fresco paintings date back to 14th century. "This is a serious attack on efforts to restore confidence and implement the Framework Agreement. It sets back all efforts to find a civilized solution to the crisis in Macedonia.

The burning of the monastery complex of St. Gjorgjija on the eve of the day of its patron saint shows that militant groups still exist trying in any possible way to subvert the peace process and inflict irreparable damages primarily to their own people for whose 'greater human rights' they claim to fight," relates the statement issued by the Ministry of Culture. The coordination body for crisis management says this is an act in breach of all international standards and conventions, and all the more so, an act against humanity and civilization in general. Churches in Macedonia are physical evidence of the spiritual values that helped the Macedonian community survive and persevere. The coordination body considers that precautions should be reinforced to protect public law and order and forestall criminal activities, thus securing freedom of movement and protection of physical and spiritual values.

The block of Macedonian parties and associations of Tetovo totally disagree with President Trajkovski that the situation in Macedonia has improved considerably. They consider such statements completely disproportionate prompting understandable revolt particularly among the Macedonians in Tetovo and the surrounding area.

St. George church

Experts on Burning Down Church “St. Gjorgija” in Mala Recica- Marvellous Monument of Medieval Art Destroyed

(Vecer, 11.12.2001) - The damage is even greater, having in mind that there is no photo-documentation, according to which the church could be reconstructed -

“According to me, church ‘St. Gjorgija’ was intentionally burnt down by Albanian terrorists in order for Christian population not to be able to celebrate holiday ‘St. Gjorgija’. As a matter of a fact, the same thing happened to Lesok monastery. Unfortunately, we do not know what has been stolen before the burning down, and what has been destroyed by the fire. The same thing happened with the displays from the collections in the Teke and other religious and museum objects that are under the control of the Albanian terrorists”, Director of Museum of Tetovo Area Srecko Jovanovski stated, after Saturday’s act of vandalism.
Church “St. Gjorgija” is the 13th sacral object in Tetovo area, which was a target of the Albanian terrorists, and was one of the rare objects, which foundations dated from the 14th century. Namely, the remains of the church were discovered in 1920, while the restoration occurred 10 years later. Monastery shelters were built in 1965. Two years later, the Republic Bureau for Protection of Cultural Monuments sent a team to perform archaeological researches in order to determine time belonging. Team manager was art historian Petar Miljkovik Pepek, who said:
“I performed a small sondage from the external north side and I did not determine the depth of the foundation, because I came up at a bunch of old frescos that could help in determining the age of the church, and partly the decoration itself. According to the fragments of the decoration, it can be said that it dates from the 14th century. The remains of the frescos were given to the laboratory of the Bureau for research and conservation. The archaeological research confirmed that it had been a small church. There is no doubt that church “St.Gjorgija” is a significant monument not only for Tetovo area, but for history of medieval art in Macedonia”.
Based on this data, the church was registered as a monument of culture the very same year. Unfortunately, this temple was demolished and robbed several times in the past 10 months by the Albanian terrorists, in order for it to be entirely destroyed at the end. The damage is even greater, having in mind that there is no photo-documentation, according to which the church could be reconstructed.


Cultural monuments of Macedonia
Official Site of the Macedonian Ministry of Culture

NLA/UCK Human Right Fighters or Terrorist, Reality Macedonia
Reality Macedonia offers many testimonies on continual attempts of
Albanian terrorists, especially those infiltrated from Kosovo, to destroy the
Macedonian state and initiate ethnic division