Bishop sacks rehab priest

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Date Published: 05/27/2009
Publication: B92

BELGRADE — SPC Bishop Artemije has relieved the abusive manager of the drug rehabilitation center located at the Crna Reka monastery grounds, Branislav Peranovic.

In his statement, Artemije said that a Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) court process will begin against Peranovic for using unacceptable methods of punishing patients treated there for their addiction.

Deputy archpriest in charge of the facility, Dejan Jakovljevic, will be taking over for Peranovic.

“If the future manager, despite our warnings, continues using force and physical punishment, we will be forced to prohibit the work of this camp,” Artemije stated.

“In making this decision, we were guided with the feeling and the need of many parents who have asked us, in writing and via phone calls, not to shut down the center, because it is their only hope that their children will be led from the path of perdition and return to a normal life,” he explained.

With this goal, he said “we are turning to the state institutions, with whom the center is registered, to continue the investigation into the unsettling actions that had occurred there, and to take the according legal measures against those responsible.”

“We learned from the print and electronic media over the last few days, just like the public, about the unacceptable methods, beatings and injuries of patients who were in the Crna Reka rehabilitation center, which we found shocking and unsettling,” the bishop said in his statement issued on Wednesday.

“Sacrificial lamb”

Meanwhile, Father Branislav Peranovic said that he accepts the decision of Bishop Artemija to relieve him of his position at the Crna Reka rehabilitation center.

He told daily Vranjske that it is important to keep the center working, and that he is a “sacrificial lamb”.

Peranovic said that he did not comment over the last several days of the controversy because he “did not want to add gas to the fire”, but now claims that “this is the most dirty, and uncompromising campaign against Bishop Artemije, wherever it maybe coming from”.

He said that in this case, “it is obvious that the Synod led by Bishop Irinej