Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: I consider Artemije a regular, canonical bishop

In the interview, recently given to Greek agency Amen, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus (Greek Orthodox Church) was asked to answer the questions about already known case of “interference” in the life of Serbian Orthodox Church. In the following text we bring the answers to that question, actually the discussion with the journalist on that occasion. The interview was published on February 7th, 2012.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus during interview

Journalist: There were a lot of words about your actions concerning the internal affairs of other churches, earlier in the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and recently in the affair related to the former Bishop of Ras-Prizren Artemije in the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the letter  you sent him, you addressed him as the bishop of Ras-Prizren, as if he still is…

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: I consider him a regular, canonical bishop.

Journalist: Serbian Patriarchate is of a different opinion.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: It has nothing to do with me, this is my personal opinion. By expressing my opinion I have not committed an act of interfering in the internal affairs of another Church.

Journalist: So, you do not pay attention to the decision of the other church?

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Please, I have my opinion, I am a free person, a member of the Church, for “we are called to freedom” says the Lord and His Apostles. I’m just expressing my opinion, I do not force anything upon anyone. Intrusion means to get into some other canonical area, to teach, to conduct services, to perform the chirotony, to serve the Liturgy… that means to interfere. Does the expression of an opinion or sending a letter mean intrusion? But, I …

Journalist: Yes, but the Serbian church…

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Please, I think that the Serbian Orthodox Church is occupied today.

Journalist: By whom?

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: By the so-called Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Journalist: But patriarch Irinej of Serbia, isn’t he…

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: I will answer; I will answer you. At this moment, unfortunately there are very bad people in Serbian government, and they want close Euro-Atlantic relations in all possible ways.

Journalist: However, the Church…

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Church, Church…

Journalist: Do you have doubts about Serbian Patriarch?

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Please… They ask the Church to help in the realization of that dream for Serbia, and they sacrificed – just as the Pharisees told “It is better that one man dies for the people”, that man, the man of truth, essentially the righteous one, who is, as is getting confirmed, the only true disciple of St. Justin Popovic. Please, that man… the facts…

Journalist: So, you doubt Serbian Patriarch?

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: I do not doubt Serbian Patriarch! I say…

Journalist: You say that the Church is occupied.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Please, I say it is occupied in the sense that the Church is subordinated to the needs of …

Journalist: So the patriarch also…

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: … the needs of Serbian people, whose government considers that they should be included into the Euro-Atlantic integrations

Journalist: But Serbian hierarchs do not share that opinion.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Even if they do not, it is proved by the facts. Now, we get the essence of things. The sixth section of the Areopagus (the Supreme Court of Greece) dismiss the charge against archimandrite Simeon Vilovski, Episcopal deputy of the Bishop of Ras-Prizren Artemije, because the data given by the Higher Court from Belgrade about alleged malversation, which was the basis for the removal (I am speaking from a legal point of view) of Bishop Artemije from his diocese, then his forced retirement and finally his degradation to the status of monk, show that there have never exist any malversations. Those data were completely disputable, unsustainable and non-existing.

And the Highest Court of our country, our Judicial System, which is completely independent and does not serve anybody’s interest, neither the Church nor political, dismissed an international arrest warrant for Simeon Vilovski, who was previously degraded  by the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, his monastic rank was taken and he was ostracized from the Church. Our Court dismissed it as false and confirmed that the persecution was carried out for religious and political reasons.

At the same time, Simeon’s alleged accomplice in these malversations, a contractor, was released from custody in Belgrade for lack of evidence. About that, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Patriarchate is silent, especially usually very talkative Bishop Atanasije Jevtić, ex bishop of Herzegovina, who often makes statements on various topics. He should speak about this, and explain us how it is possible that the process against Simeon Vilovski was false but at the same time he was degraded as embezzler and deceiver. And all that was the basis for the degradation of Bishop Artemije…

Journalist: And why then all this was done?

Metropolitan Seraphim of Greek Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Just because of this one reason. Because he was upright and he was an obstacle  to American factor and Islamic status of Kosovo. This is the reality. It was imposed on the Serbian Government and the Government imposed it on the Serbian Patriarchate. This is all wisdom. And it is my belief. I said that in the letter to him and nowhere else. Neither to the Patriarch nor I got involved elsewhere. How do I make the intrusion in the Serbian Patriarchate? By saying the truth? But, I just told the truth!

Journalist: But the letter was published.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: Of course! Weren’t I supposed to express my opinion? That’s my opinion!

Translated and edited by  FB page „Pravoslavlje zivot vecni“

English edition

Source: СРБски ФБРепортер

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4 реаговања на Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus: I consider Artemije a regular, canonical bishop

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