The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) announced that the Kosovo government did not allow Patriarch Porfirije to enter the country.
According to the statement made on the SPC website, the Kosovo government did not allow Patriarch Porfirije, who wanted to go to the country for Christmas Mass, to enter the country.
In the statement, which stated that Patriarch Porfirije received the news with sadness, it was stated that the Patriarch would not give up serving and that the decision meant “discrimination” for the Serbs living in the region.
The statement also noted that Patriarch Porfirije prayed for “peace to reign between Serbs and Albanians” in northern Kosovo.
Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia have escalated after the detention of former Serbian police officer Dejan Pantic.
Reacting to Pantic’s detention, Kosovo Serbs have been standing guard at the barricades they set up at the Jarinje and Bernjak border crossings since 10 December.
The EU, NATO and the USA called for de-escalation and removal of the barricades in northern Kosovo; Serbia has requested NATO’s Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) to deploy Serbian army and police in northern Kosovo.
Serbia considers Kosovo, which declared its independence unilaterally in 2008, as its territory.
Serbia and Kosovo, which periodically clash, are trying to find a common way for the normalization of relations and ultimately for the two countries to get to know each other, within the scope of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Process initiated in 2011 under EU mediation.