Thursday, June 17, 1999 Published at 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Saved by the monks of Decani
The brothers will now be praying for the fleeing local Serbs
By Mark Urban in Kosovo
Ethnic Albanians in the Kosovan village of Decani say they owe their lives to the humanity and courage of the local Serb Orthodox monks.
"We helped them in the best way we could. We gave them food, medicine, moral support," said the abbot.
Now there are only 300 ethnic Albanians left in the village, a third of the total pre-war population.
Those that have remained only came out of hiding on Wednesday after months in hiding.
For Agim Morani, the abbott's presence was a saving grace in a village where the Serb nationalist slogans daubed on the buildings testify to the level of ethnic hatred.
"The abbot came because he knew the Serbs would start killing people. He took us to the church and then came back for the others. If he hadn't come it is 100 per cent certain that we would be dead," he added.
But the bruises that still remain on Mr Morani's wife are a painful reminder of how she was beaten up and robbed of all her jewellery.
He feels that the Serb slogans are just a mask, a disguise to do what they wanted. "It has nothing to do with Serb nationalism," maintains the abbott.
But the danger is not over. With the Serbs fleeing from the area, and the continued tension of ethnic hatred hanging heavy in the air, the monastery is now being guarded by armed K-For soldiers.