Kosovo Catholics practice faith openly
A freshly-painted image of the crucified Christ looked down on seven pews packed with believers, mainly farmers, their faces tanned by the sun after toiling in the fields.
"Today we sing aloud, we do not have to sit in darkness as the gloomy, terrible days are gone and joy has dawned on us," a sister chanted in Albanian.
Nothing out of the ordinary, even in overwhelmingly Muslim Kosovo, one might think.
But the church was built in 2008, the same year as 65-year-old Beg Bytyqi declared himself a Catholic Christian.
Bytyqi was one of the first villagers to embrace Christianity openly after their forebears practised the faith in secret for hundreds of years while publicly proclaiming themselves to be Muslims.
"I inherited the faith from my father as he did from his. Ever since I remember, we have celebrated Christmas and Easter in secrecy, holding ceremonies at home," he said.
Only about 50,000 of Kosovo's 1.7 million citizens are Catholics, while more than 90 percent of the population is Muslim.
About 40 people from Kravaseri village, home to around 100 families, have reverted since 2008 to their ancestors' religion, shedding light on the phenomenon of crypto-Catholics.
Known in Kosovo as Laramans -- meaning colourful or many-faceted in the Albanian language -- they have turned away from the Islam brought in by the Ottoman Turks who conquered the Balkans in the 15th century. (...)