The Savior of Klina | Kosovo 2007
Klina (Serbian Cyrillic: Клина, Albanian: Klinë) is a small town of roughly 5.000 souls in the Peja district of north western Kosovo and one of the strongholds of Kosovo’s small Albanian-Catholic community.
The catholic priest of Klina, with the help of his community, built an impressive red brick church with a double bell tower solely from donations he himself collected. Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil (kisha Zoja e Keshillit te Mire) was completed in 2011.
When I visited repeatedly in the spring of 2007, only the shell of the building was erected with no interior finishing done. The reason for me visiting was that the commanding general of NATO’s Kosovo Forces – the international stabilization force present since the war of 1999 – had decided to donate a wooden cross cum Jesus Christ-figure to the church.
The CG at the time was a German lieutenant general who himself had converted to the Roman-Catholic faith only a short time before. The ensemble was subsequently manufactured by a wood carver in the Black Forest in Germany and airlifted to Kosovo by the German air force, where troopers of the 23. Mountain Infantry Brigade (Bavaria) from Bad Reichenhall assembled and mounted it.
I was assigned to document the effort.
On our first visit in mid-March the German military chaplain of Field Camp Prizren – the German led regional KFOR-headquarters – and the company sergeant major of its headquarters company took measure of the interior of the church so that the proper size of the cross could be determined.
Arrival & Assembly
After the ensemble was manufactured and airlifted into Kosovo, troopers from the quartermaster company assembled and mounted it on the church wall on our second and third visits at the beginning of May.
Our fourth visit to Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil occurred on May 17 when the ensemble was inaugurated and holy mass was celebrated on the occasion.