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June 2, 2010

Serbian Monks Abandon Monasteries Over Removal of Bishop Artemije

Turmoil Continues in Serbian Church as Monks Rebel

June 2, 2010

Belgrade, Serbia - The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) continues to be racked by dissent, as monks in two monasteries have openly rebelled against the church leadership, the daily Blic said Wednesday.

Monks from monasteries the Crna Reka and Holy Archangels launched their rebellion in support of Bishop Artemije, the former head of the Kosovo eparchy whom the SPC replaced because he had ignored orders and was implicated in corruption scandals.

The monks said they were set to abandon their monasteries despite orders from the SPC to remain in place.

The influential Bishop Amfilohije, the provisional administrator of the Kosovo eparchy, which also covers a part of south-western Serbia, met the monks in Crna Reka at an unspecified date but had failed to reach a settlement.

"They ... were told that the Church cannot allow pseudo-zealotry, sectarianism that undermines the unity of the Church," the Kosovo eparchy said in a statement.

The Kosovo eparchy has been in focus not only because of the secession of Kosovo in 2008, but also because of alleged financial abuse. The allegations have so far led to the criminal indictment and arrest of Artemije's right-hand man, Simeon Vilovski.

Monks at the Crna Reka monastery caused outrage last year when they disclosed they were "curing" drug addicts by torturing them.

For context, see here and here.