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WHERE DID 7.000 ICONS END UP? Serbs from Croatia about religious heritage missing during the war

Despite the promises from the Croatian side there are still attacks on objects and priesthood of Serbian Orthodox Church in that country

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Association of Serbs from Croatia considered requirements of the official Zagreb to be absurd that Serbia should return icons and other liturgical objects that were transferred during the conflict and thus saved from certain destruction, while, despite the promises from the Croatian side, there are still attacks on objects and clergy of Serbian Orthodox Church in that country. The statement of the Association of Serbs from the Croatia to the media states that in there is still insufficient care of cultural institutions in that country that deal with this issue.

Nikolic: We won't be targets!

- Therefore, we think that is absurd requests to return the icons and other liturgical objects that were transferred to Serbia and thus saved from certain destruction. If they are not in a position to discover the perpetrators of previous attacks on church buildings, how do they plan to protect cultural treasures if they got it back - said in a statement.

Foto: Wikimedia / Peter Denton

Foto: Wikimedia / Peter Denton

The Association of Serbs in Croatia raises the question what about the part of the cultural treasure that has remained after the expulsion of Serbs from Croatia, and now it disappeared without a trace?

Where did 7.000 icons go that went missing in the war whirlpool during the nineties in Croatia?! Its not just the icons, but also the liturgical books, archives and much more that belonged to the Serbs - said in a statement.

Foto: Profimedia/AFP

Foto: Profimedia/AFP

Association of Serbs in Croatia believes that it would be irresponsible to meet these requirements in these circumstances, because the one that took that role upon himself did not take the responsibility.

So much the more, as they say, the icons are not just artistic treasure, they are cult objects and their owner is Serbian Orthodox church in the first place, and they Serbian people.

- Return of Cultural Property in Croatia is regulated by the Protocol signed on 23 March 2012 in Zagreb. Under this Protocol there was a list with information of about 1,065 cases that are the subject of return. The final list, besides the sacred works, contains archives from the Serbian Orthodox Church monasteries of Croatian territory. These are the items that have spiritual value for the Orthodox believers of the area - said in a statement, signed by the Secretary-General Associations Milojko Budimir.

The issue of return of cultural goods in the European Parliament were raised earlier by Croatian MPs Tonino Picula and Dubravka Suica, conditioning Serbia to the return the remaining valuables with the request for it to be part of the negotiating package for Serbia's EU membership.

According to their calculations until 1993, 22.829 museum objects and 3.097 cultural were "stolen from Croatia. Even though most of it was returned, that did not please the Croatian MPs. 

Foto: Flickr/inyucho

Foto: Flickr/inyucho

New Croatian conditioning around opening Chapter 26 to return the taken cultural treasure presents the continuation of the former politics which entered the stealing of cultural treasures into the lawsuit against Serbia for genocide.

- Our expectations from the new Croatian government were to first start the question of dignified return to whom that cultural treasure belonged and so fulfill the obligations which were taken by Croatia closing the Chapter 23 "Judiciary and fundamental rights".

Then the Serbian representatives in Croatia nor Serbia conditioned Croatia even though they had all the arguments, and it also stands in the statement.

Expectations were that Croatia will accept standards as a member of EU which are valued in all civilized countries in the world, and thus fulfill he taken responsibilities from the bilateral and international agreements, and especially Vienna Agreement on Succession in 2001. Unfortunately since Croatia became a full EU member, the conditions for Serbs in Croatia, as well as for those in exile, did not improve, but only became worse than it was.

Refugees and expelled Serbs from Croatia have been waiting for a long time for the usurpation of Serbian cultural heritage to stop and to finally put an end to the attempt of Croatian blackmail, which requires conditioning Serbia of returning the art treasures in order to enter the EU.

(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)

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