DECANI, Kosovo - The Visoki Decani Monastery teaches values of peace and tolerance. But at several points in history, its mission has been threatened by opposing ideas and war.
Since the Kosovo War which ended in 1999, and in the ethnic tension that persists, NATO’s Kosovo Force, KFOR, has protected the monastery. Surrounded by Kosovar Albanians, the Serbian Orthodox institution is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
"Love of God means love for all human beings,” said Father Sava Janjic, abbot at the monastery. "This is the driving force of our struggle for peace and a multi-ethnicity, multi-religious society in which we believe people can live together in peace.”
Janjic is Serbo-Croatian, but also cites roots from Germany and Hungary.
KFOR provides a safe and secure environment under its mandate from U.N. Resolution 1244. As part of that mission, it also provides specific protection for the monastery.
"We guard here seven days per week, 24 hours a day,” said Italian Army 1st Lieutenant Andrea Tognati of KFOR’s Multinational Battle Group West. "It’s incredible to see different units, different nations can work together to the same end state.”
Italy, Moldova, Austria and Slovenia all contribute military personnel to MNBG West.
A total of 28 nations contribute to more than 4,000 personnel of KFOR.
Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office