The Serbian Orthodox Church has removed a powerful bishop after allegations, some supported by videotaped evidence, emerged that he has been living a life of gay orgies, pederasty with both sexes, and suchlike. Excerpt:
Vasilije Kacavenda, the bishop of Tuzla and Zvornik in Bosnia-Herzegovina, retreated from his clerical duties months ago as allegations mounted that he had used his position for years to stage frequent orgies and rape underage boys and girls.
But the April 22 decision by the Holy Synod to accept his resignation appears to be the first acknowledgment of the church’s growing unease with the crush of lurid accusations that seem better suited to Caligula’s court than an Orthodox diocese.
Bojan Jovanovic, a former theological student in Bijeljina, the seat of Kacavenda’s diocese, says he observed numerous orgies organized by the 74-year-old bishop and attended by fellow clerics and prominent businessmen.
Jovanovic says Kacavenda personally appealed to him to supply young children for sexual purposes and frequently called on high-ranking church officials to organize trysts with young theological students.
“They tried on many occasions to put me in a compromising situation myself or to pull me into their circle,” Jovanovic says. “[The bishop] also suggested that I should use the school where I was teaching science to bring him children up to the age of 10, but of course I refused. I was also a witness when abbots from other monasteries would bring theology students who would spend the night with the bishop.
According to the report, people have known about this now-defrocked bishop’s activities for years, but no one held him to account. It was only the publication online of excerpts from a sex tape that brought him down. More:
The church’s stance has drawn unfortunate comparisons with the Vatican’s handling of its own sex-abuse scandals. Mirko Djordjevic, a sociologist in Belgrade, says the Orthodox leadership has long thought of itself as untouchable even as rampant evidence of wrongdoing came to light.
“Our church tried to push these things under the carpet. Or, once things could no longer be hidden, the civil courts have waited for the statute of limitations to kick in,” Djordevic says. “In the case of Bishop Pahomije, the state is simply waiting for the whole thing to get old, even though the phenomenon of pedophilia in the church and in society is widespread. The trouble is that in our country, except for some notable exceptions, the public is asleep or intimidated and doesn’t have the courage to face these problems.”
Face them. Speak the truth. Hold those who abuse the weak, the Church, and above all Jesus Christ, to account. There is no other way forward than purification and repentance. Lies and cover-ups rot the Church from within.