Their reply was, - “we publish what people say”
rather than investigating the truth around the closure of the Church gates. It is typical of the Serbian Media and its reporters
in Australia. They fear that they will lose their readers or be reprimanded because it is not in someone’s interest.
The truth about the closure of the gates at Frankston is as follows.-
Its priest, Nedeljko Milanovic under instructions from Bishop
Irinej Dobrijevic, has stolen the “antimins” from the Church. I say stolen, because when one takes something,
which does not belong to them, this to me is theft. It was taken without informing the Churches committee or its parishioners.
This is theft from the Church, its committee and its parishioners and I believe it is against the law.
Three weeks prior to the discovery of the whereabouts of the Church’s relic, the “antimins”,
both the priest and its committee where arguing against each other, blaming each other for its disappearance. It was only
when your newspaper published its whereabouts that the culprit of the theft was discovered.
Without the “antimins” you cannot have a Church service and it is for this reason that
the Church doors are closed.
Until those who have taken it return the Church’s “antimins” or another put in it’s
place, no Church service can be conducted.
It is time that Bishop Irinej Dobrijevic realises that contrary
to his wishes, he is not the master of the Church in Frankston. It is held in trust for its parishioners and its members
to use as a place of worship. Nobody has a personal interest in the assets neither
of this parish nor of any other parishes in Australia,
and it is time that the newly arrivals acknowledge this.
Committees are elected by the members of the Church Parish to manage the Church’s assets for
and on behalf of its members and parishioners. The people have built up these church assets without any help from its Bishops
or priests and they know how to look after them. We do not need a Bishop or priest telling us how and where we should spend
our money or to whom the Church assets belong to – we know they have been built for its people.
Vesti have stated that they had checked with Belgrade
and were advised that Bishop Irinej has the right to take the “antimins” from a Church.
What they failed to do is to ask the Australian legal authorities
whether this also applies to Churches in Australia,
which do not belong to him.
The Frankston Church
committee has already advised Bishop Irinej Dobrijevic that they do not recognise him as their Bishop because of his dictatorship
attitudes over the running of the Serbian Churches in Australia.
His attitude is that when you write to him, criticizing something that is happening in the community,
he replies with - “I have read his/her article which has been written in an illiterate way” (nepismen) or if you
do not obey him, he goes into panic mode and refuses to talk or associate with you. His solution is to have you excommunicated
and removed of any membership to your parish.
I was removed as a member of my parish in Greensborough (after 43 years) because of an article that
I wrote stating that the Church assets, which were built under the banner of the Free Serbian Orthodox Church, remain under
the management and direction of its people, not the Bishops or priests and especially not the Holy Synod in Belgrade. The
people for its people here built them in Australia. Bishop Irinej called me a communist and excommunicated me from the Church.
He thinks that only he and his priests are the scholars and the educated ones in the Serbian Community.
Its time this Bishop grew up and realized that he is not God and that respect from the community is earned, not demanded.
When Bishop Irinej directs that other Churches and monasteries be padlocked, preventing the faithful
to pray – this is OK. When the faithful prevent him from entering the Church, then this is a punishable sin.
When Church committees disagree with his views, he dismisses them from membership and elects those
that are humble to him. ( new committees elected by the people are not legal until he approves them) He does not want people
around him who have their own opinions.
He is prepared to spend Churches funds to achieve his goals. Even to the extent of court actions where
only the solicitors will benefit.
We do not want a Bishop who says that he is only responsible to God, not the people. We want the clergy
to serve its people, (that’s why we are paying them) not the people to serve the interests of the clergy.
We do not want a Bishop who allows his priests to say and do whatever and not be punished or disciplined
for their actions.
We do not want a Bishop who thinks that there is only one ruler of the Serbian people in Australia – himself
- and he must be obeyed at whatever cost.
When Church committees form Company structures to safeguard their assets, Bishop Irinej says it is
When he himself forms Company structures of which he is a director, this is canonical. He has recently incorporated a Company where there is rumour that its sole purpose is to have all Church assets gifted
to this Company thereby having full control of all Church assets under his domain in Australia.
Finally, if we want harmony amongst the Serbian community here in Australia, then the Bishop should reinstate all the Church members who have been
expelled from their Church parishes, totalling well over 190, all of whom have built and dedicated their lives to the Church
Reported numbers of over 2000 families in Australia
have turned against the Church and this number is growing as more and more people are discovering the truth behind the expulsions.
I know as a fact that there are well over 100 families who no longer attend or give to the Church because
of my expulsion.
We also want the Church National assembly “Crkveno Narodni Sabor” to be elected by those
whom the members have elected, not by the chosen ones.
We also want the “Diocene Plenum” elected by its members, not the chosen ones.
We want the Diocesan Council (Epahrsky Savet) to be returned to its original number of members as per
our constitution, namely 5 priests and 7 laymen – not 6 priests and 6 laymen and the Bishop as is currently the situation.
In summary, it is not the people who have created this friction amongst the Serbs in Australia, but the Bishop.
We pray that the day will come when we receive a Bishop like the late Bishop Peter Bankerovic who was
able to unite all
the churches and national organizations into one spiritual heart and soul.