Communique of Administrator Atanasije of Diocese of Raska-Prizren, retired Bishop of Zahumlje and Herzegovina
Upon the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church no. 131 of February 11, 2010 signed by His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija was dismissed of the managing duties of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren until the completion of the initiated canonical procedure, or until the next session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops. His Grace Bishop Artemije is not forbidden to serve and can stay at the seat or other place or monastery of these or other Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, but with the permission of the newly appointed administrator or other Bishop in charge or other Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
At the same time, upon this decision and the special act of the Holy Synod of Bishops no. 132 of February 11, 2010, the undersigned was appointed the administrator of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren with all the rights and duties of the diocesan bishops. Both these acts were personally delivered to His Grace Bishop Artemije at the session of the Holy Synod of Bishops on February 13, 2010 at the Patriarchate, with the explicit indication that both acts take effect immediately. Simultaneously, we were sent by a Synod car, accompanied by one of the members of the Synod commission who had participated in the previoisly completed review of the status at the seat of the Diocese, directly to the monastery of Gracanica, where we arrived yesterday, on February 13, in the early afternoon. We were welcomed by all episcopal vicars with lots of brothers priests, monks and nuns of this Diocese, as well as vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan and heugomene of Gracanica mother Efrosinija.
On that occasion, both upper acts were read to all who were present. There were no objections on them because the local priestshood and the people has long expected that the difficult situation in the Diocese of Raska and Prizren finally to be solved , which had been made by lawless, noncanonical and anti-church action of Simeon Vilovski and his collaborators.
Upon arrival in Gracanica, with the Synod Authority, we took over the Information Service department, as well as the department of secretary and treasurer of the same Diocese, and entered the premises of the Diocese, not touching anything else and expecting the return of His Grace Bishop Artemije. Seizing these two departments we carried out immediately after our arrival because we suspected their mistreatment, especially as we found out that noncanonically appointed episcopal deputy Simeon Vilovski secretly had escaped previous night from the seat of the Diocese to Greece. (At the same time we declare that possible advertising through the official website of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija (www.eparhija-prizren.com) is a misuse of this or other titles of the Diocese, and is not valid until the establishment of a normal operation of the Information Service of this Diocese Bishop authorized by Bishop the administrator.)
In this way we want to inform the Holy Synod of Bishops, all parishes and monasteries of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the public that we, as the canonically appointed administrator, took over the administration of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, asking brother priests and the faithful, as well as monks, to fully respect the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops, which are actually implementation of the decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and conscientiously, with a sincere Orthodox faith and love in Christ Our Shepherd, Saviour of us and all peoples and all the world, contribute to the peaceful overcoming of canonical and material disorder, created by noncanonical action, precisely anti-church behavior of mentioned Simeon Vilovskog and his unconscious and anti-church associates. (Otherwise, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church two years ago requested a canonical procedure againsthieromonk Simeon Vilovski , and ordered Bishop Artemije to relieve him from all clerical and administrative services. But Bishop Artemije, unfortunately, did not obeyed, as he has not carried out many other Synod and Assembly decisions. )
At the same time we invite all the uninformed people in the Diocese of Raska and Prizren not to let themselves to be deceived by individuals or groups which are maliciously spreading misinformation about the decisions of the Holy Synod and the Assembly and slander against the Holy Synod and the Assembly, and in that way they directly oppose to the competent ecclesiastical authority of our Church, and thus are trying to create a dispute in this tormented and Saint Sava's and Saint Lazar's Diocese and beyond in the Church.
Some of these pseudoozealots, instructed by the mentioned Vilovski and others, whose selfish criminal interests are threatened, and their actions are subject to canonical and judicial sanctions, or incited by the heugomen Nikolaj of Crna Reka and his obedient rasophores, were yesterday before the Patriarchate in Belgrade in order to pressurize and to hinder the work of the Holy Synod. His Holiness Patriarch reacted on it and asked Bishop Artemije to dismiss those rioters and lawbreakers in the Church, or he will just receive additional burden to his own position and thus take more serious responsibility. So he did that at the Patriarchate. This we have today personally told His Grace brother Artemije and asked him canonically to remove from Gracanica few monks from Crna Reka and St. Archangels, otherwise we will request a new intervention of the Holy Synod and Patriarch, which will be at his expense, and for this again we havegot an approval of the Holy Synod and Patriarch. If deluded people, whether believers or monks truly want to help our brother and cocelebrant Bishop Artemije, then they shall do so through fasting, serenity, prayer and obedience to His Holiness Patriarch and the Holy Synod and the Assembly, and thus the Church of Christ. Especially monks should know that our Church is and with the Holy Spirit conciliarly and hierarchial arranged and managed, so in that way we all subject to the canonical order and canonical sanctions - if we are the Orthodox Church.
Saluting brothers, priests and believers, as well as monks and nuns of this ancient and sacred, God Saved Diocese of Kosovo and Metohija, from Prizren to Raska, prayerfully we congratulate to everyone the beginning of the Great Lent, which introduces us to the Pascha of our Lord and ours, with a prayerful wish and a blessing that quietly, in prayer, repentance and hope of the Resurrection we spend days of Paschal Lent and with a pure heart and in all good conscience wait to worship Christ's suffering and the Resurrection, theoanthropologic Mysteries-Events of our salvation, with mutual forgiveness and brotherly love, participating in these holy days as often as possible in the church services, especially in the Divine Liturgy, and partaking as often as possible of the holy and life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, Crucified and Resurrected for us and for our salvation.
At the same time we announce that I will, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, visit parishes and monasteries and serve in all the churches and the monasteries of Kosovo and Metohija and Raska and Prizren, including the destroyed and restored sanctuaries.
So we will, with the Holy God, already on Theodor's Saturday serve at the demolished, and then renovated St. Nicholas Church in Pristina, and on Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Cathedral church of Saint George in the imperial Prizren, the ancient seat of this old Christian Diocese .
On Sunday before the beginning of Easter Lent ,
on the feast day of the Presentation of the Lord, year of Our Lord 2010
Administrator of Diocese
of Raska and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija
+ Bishop Atanasije