Serbian Bishop Artemije Dismissed

Author: Bojana Barlovac
Date Published: 05/05/2010
Publication: BalkanInsight.com

05 May 2010 The Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC, decided on Tuesday to permanently remove Bishop Artemije, the bishop of the Raska and Prizren Diocese in Kosovo, from his duties.

According to the SPC statement, Bishop Atanasije also resigned as the diocese’s temporary administrator, but will remain there until a replacement is found.

Serbian daily Vecernje Novosti learned from its sources that Artemije has denied allegations of fraud in the diocese and openly opposed an offer to retire but said he would ”accept the decision of the Council, whatever that is.”

On February 16, police launched a probe into allegations of fraud inside the Diocese on the basis of charges filed by the Church. Bishop Artemije, who led the Diocese, was temporarily removed from his post while the final decision of the Church Council was awaited.

According to a report issued by a Church commission looking into the Artemije case, which Balkan Insight has seen, money donated to the diocese allegedly funded the lifestyles of several of the Bishop’s close associates.

The alleged beneficiaries included Simeon Vilovski and Rade Suboticki. The two men operated Rade Neimar, a construction firm linked to the church, which was engaged in the reconstruction of monasteries destroyed during the March riots that swept Kosovo in 2004.

Serbian police arrested Suboticki on February 17 on suspicion of embezzling