Serb kids raise cash for fire-gutted Helandari

Schoolchildren from the Serb part of the federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina have raised 130,000 euros to contribute to the cost of rebuilding the 800-year-old Helandari Monastery on Mount Athos, one of the holiest of Serbian sanctuaries. During a visit yesterday to the fire-blackened medieval complex, half of which was gutted during a blaze on March 4, the education minister for the Serbian state, Gojko Savanovic, presented the schoolchildren’s collection to Greek authorities who are coordinating the rebuilding effort. The entire project is expected to cost over 30 million euros, most of which will be provided by Greece. So far, the government has disbursed 300,000 euros for the first phase of the work, during which badly damaged parts of the complex will be removed and the rubble cleared away. None of the 25 resident monks, all Serbs, were hurt in the fire.