Saturday, January 08, 2011

Orthodox Bishop Artemije in Exile...

From here.

By the Grace of God
Orthodox Bishop of Ras-Prizren
In Exile
December 7, 2010



Dear Brother and concelebrants in Christ,

We hope that your Grace had already received news on the displeasing events in the Serbian Orthodox Church concerning Us, least among your brethren in Lord. Modern mass media are various and numerous; hence the news that the Assembly of the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church had deprived Us of the Hierarchal honour and has reduced Us to the rank of monks, exactly on the day of the fiftieth anniversary of our monastic tonsure, has surely reached you, too.

We do not know of the reasons mentioned in the information you have received, and in which context have they been presented, but We know that here, in Our fatherland, the information, coming from the Holy Archieratical Synod and from the Serbian state, disseminated through the mass media, are full of falsities, slanders, and unproved accusations.

Just a small, but bitter part of the orchestrated persecution against Us one can get, learning how a few months ago the Serbian Patriarchate (i. e. Holy Archieratical Synod) has commenced a legal process against Our Protosyncellus, Archimandrite Simeon Vilovski, who had at the time already been in Thessalonica, preparing his Doctor’s thesis at the Theological faculty of the Thessalonica University. Based on “doubt on malfeasance in office”, the Synod has lodged a complaint against him. After an international arrest warrant issued against him, Fr. Simeon spent three and a half months in Greek prisons, waiting for the trial at the Areopagus, the Supreme Court of Greece. The trial was held on July 6, 2010.

In its ruling No. 1410/2010, the Areopagus justified Fr. Simeon. It was publicly declared on July 13, 2010, rejecting the request of the Serbian legal bodies for his extradition to Serbia where he would have been tried upon the indictment on “doubt on malfeasance in office”. The Areopagus clearly concluded that: a) it is a fabricated persecution, behind which stands the persecution of political and religious convictions, and b) he would have no fair trial in Serbia.

Lest you remain in misapprehension regarding Our case, we have taken liberty to provide attached Our written address to the Holy Archieratical Synod from September 13, 2010, from which you can have a firsthand knowledge on how and why the disagreement between Us and the Holy Archieratical Synod has come to pass.

The five-member Synod, in which Our infamous denouncers and persecutors participated and voted against Us, and, albeit We were not summoned to reply, reacted to Our letter, by ruling another non-canonical decision, which puts Us under suspension of “performing all the sacraments” until the regular session of the Holy Assembly of the Hierarchy, scheduled for November 17, 2010. In expectation of the possibility to put forth our defense at the Assembly of the Hierarchy, and that in front of all that the full Truth be shown, We have, even though the ruling is non-canonical, respected the synodal decision.

Unfortunately, We were not even invited to the Assembly of the Hierarchy, where, again, our infamous denouncers and persecutors participated and voted against Us. The Assembly of the Hierarchy, again non canonically, and against the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church, brought the decision that We be deposed and demoted to the rank of monk, without the right to defend Ourselfs, and without Our presence,.

Eventually, all four of the times that either the Holy Archieratical Synod or the Assembly of the Hierarchy dealt with Our issue [a) February 11, 2010 the HA Synod temporary suspension from the Bishop’s seat; b) May 4, 2010. Holy Assembly of the Hierarchy – “deposition” from the Bishop’s seat; c) September 15, 2010, HA Synod – prohibition of performing the Sacraments; d) November 19, 2010, Holy Assembly of the Hierarchy – defrocking] were not regularly and canonically preceded by a judicial process, neither were the witnesses of the prosecutor and defense summoned, nor were We summoned to express our defense. Apart from May 4, 2010, We were not invited to the Assembly of the Hierarchy, and We did not participate in it. Finally, Our judges were Our infamous denouncers and horrendous slanderers through the mass media.

We have in front of Us the example of Saint John Chrysostom, who was also wrongfully and non-canonically tried and defrocked, excluded from participation in the sacraments and expelled. He himself never acknowledged that decision as a valid one, and considered himself the canonical Archbishop of Constantinople to the end of his life, had the communion with many Bishops throughout the Oecumene and celebrated the Divine Liturgy (according to the possibilities). That is why We behaved in a similar way. We have not accepted the decision of the Assembly, and We consider Ourself  the only legitimate and life-long Bishop of Ras-Prizren. Hence, We officiate the Holy Sacraments with our monks and the faithful, conditions that we live in allowing.

We inform You on all this, my dear brother, in hope that with brotherly understanding and support,  the Truth might triumph, and that We might  remain in spiritual and canonical Unity with all of You.

We use the opportunity to wish You a happy and blessed festivity of the Christ’s Nativity, with the all-joyful greetings.



In the love of divine newly-born Christ, Your brother and concelebrant

Bishop of Ras-Prizren,

and Kosovo-Metohija


No comments: