April 13, 2010

Vatican Does Not Recognize Kosovo Independence

Vatican on Kosovo and Serbian Orthodox Church

13 April 2010
Bojana Barlovac
Balkan Insight

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is a member of the Pontifical Council, said that the Vatican had not recognised Kosovo's independence out of consideration for the Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC.

In an interview with the Catholic news agency Kathpress, Kasper said that "We, of course, know that Kosovo is a heavy wound and pain for the SPC. We also know that it is the cradle and centre of Serbian Orthodoxy in Kosovo. We understand that and wish to have consideration for it."

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. Belgrade, which firmly opposes the move, then took the case to the International Court of Justice. The Court's public hearings were held last year from December 1 to 11, while the judges are expected to deliver their opinion this year.

Kosovo has been recognized by 22 out of 27 EU member states.

According to Kapser, the Vatican supports the protection of Orthodox monuments, churches and monasteries in Kosovo and that it is very upset due to "certain cultural brutality."

"In Kosovo, significant historical, cultural and religious monuments have been destroyed. This must not be so. One cannot erase history in this way," he added.