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Milan Vekovich Response to Unjust Treatment by Bishop Irinej

Bishop Irinej DIRECTS that MILAN VEKOVICH be DISCHARGED from the Committee of Church -School Congregation of St Sava in Greensborough Victoria in the event that he does not repent and responds to this decree within 14 days of receipt of same in which case he will be made to stand before the Ecclesiastic Court.




First of all, the article -”Serbs in Australia- its time to wake up and protect your assets”, dated 18/07/2007 was written by Milan Vekovich in his own right as an individual. It was not signed (as Bishop Irinej has indicated) by myself as the president of the Controlling (Audit) Board of the Church-School Congregation of St Sava Greensborough, Victoria. Even though I hold that position.


Bishop Irinej states that my article caused a disturbance and yet he states that only one person had responded to date. - how can one person cause such a disturbance?

Bishop Irinej also states that it was written in an illiterate, unconnected, unfounded, and deceitful and insanely manner in which to incite anti church sentiment against the Bishop and his authority and everything to do with the forthcoming new joint constitution.


To date, not one person has agreed that my article covered Bishop Irinej's interpretations.


Bishop Irinej has never contacted me re the above article, nor have I received any correspondence from him. The first I had heard of this complaint was at the 2nd of December church meeting, when our president read it to the committee. It was dated 23rd October 2007 and asking that I respond within 14 days which was well overdue.

I did not understand fully, the contents of Bishop Irinej's letter and thought that a forwarding letter would be sent to my address. Some two weeks had passed and nothing from the Bishop.  I wanted to know what he disliked about the content of my article and what the implications associated with it are? 


I was finally given a copy of the letter from our secretary on 17/12/2007 when I stated that I have a right to the letter in which Bishop Irinej accuses me of “blasphemy”.


Upon reading his letter, I think it madness that His Grace Bishop Irinej can conclude that the Church Committee to which I belong to, is at fault for my article. He openly writes and blames the members of the committee and insults them by stating, “this Church-School Congregation is an obvious birth of communism not even witnessed in the painful half century of languishing of St Sava's Church under the Red occupiers”.

This opens the door to court action by the members for defamation against the Bishop.


I did mention in my article that His Grace Bishop Irinej allows himself to become judge, jury and executioner and his remark above verifies this.


I stand by my statement, that our Churches and Monastery were “built by the people, for the people” and if he calls it “anti-priest words” then let it be.


Nowhere in my article did I say that the clergy do not have the calling to run the Churches (these are his words). However I did say that “the clergy have no right to run and control the Church committees” and I stand by my opinion.


Unfortunately, Bishop Irinej is skilful in fabricating replies to articles that suit his own goals.

My article openly stated the facts that led to our long awaited liturgical unity of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Nowhere was it stated that I was against any reunification.


I did however state that there is a push for a new constitution to be adopted by both the dioceses in Australia and that this has caused infighting amongst parishioners.

To avoid this infighting and another possible split, I gave an example of how the Russians had overcome this problem within their church.


I also stated some points as to what I thought should be added to the new constitution in order to protect our assets in Australia and how we may independently regulate and direct all of our funds and properties through our own bodies (not subject to Belgrade) and within the laws and constitution of Australia and New Zealand. Is that too much to ask for? To be autonomous as far as our administration and our properties are concerned. We have a right to freedom of speech and opinion in this country.


Nowhere in my article did I call for a new SCHISM and nowhere did I state that The Holy Synod, His Holiness the Patriarch, or any Bishop sell off the entire church property of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate. These are Bishop Irinej's words and interpretations.


Bishop Irinej states that “membership is only attained through the effect of holy baptism and chrismation as opposed to financial membership of a church-school congregation”. Under our present constitution and the laws of Australia, a parishioner can only vote if he is a financial member. It will be interesting if the proposed new constitution allows non financial members a say in the running of their church congregations or will this be left to the priesthood only.







The only sin that I have committed after reading Bishop Irinej's letters, was my unawareness of Church law, restricting me from having my own viewpoints. I was unaware that the authority of the Holy Synod, Bishops and the clergy is to be questioned. I was unaware that elected church-school congregation committees are only there as servants and that they cannot debate about and draw their own conclusions. I was not aware that elected Presidents and committee members could be discharged from their positions in the event that the Bishop has a disliking to them. I was not aware that lower jurisdictions were unable to review the decisions made by higher ones.


The Bishop has stated that I will be discharged from the Committee of the Church -School Congregation of St Sava in Greensborough in the event that I do not repent and respond within 14 days of receipt of same.


When a priest can use words such as “fuck it” and “odjebi” which are unbecoming of a priest, and then request that a member should go with the Turks “idi kod Turaka”. When that same priest can spit at a Church Committee member and call him “Djubre jedan”. When another priest can call parishioners “shit-kickers”, when a priest can say, “I have an opinion”, when they say “I have a right to be pissed-off when somebody bullshitts me”, when they say, “ I'm a priest trying to make a difference. I don't want to be an obedient employee of half-literate bozos who use the Church as a place for exhibiting their sick egos”, when they say, “I don't want my mouth to be shut when I see something that I do not like, just because some jerk can sack me as his priest”, when a priest can call a high ranking church official ( a Vladika ) names such as, “Kermit the Frog, Daffy Duck, Mr. Bean and Homer Simpson” and they do not have to repent or apologise.

What right then, has Bishop Irinej, to request that I repent for writing an article that covers the history of the Free Serbian Orthodox Church, the reason why our parents had built our Churches and monastery and giving my viewpoint as to why the administration of our Church properties and assets should be governed and controlled by our Church committees and Property Trusts in Australia and New Zealand.


It clearly indicates that there is, in existence, one law for the priesthood and another law for the parishioners and whilst this law is seen to be far apart from one-another, you will always have infighting within our Church committees.



Milan Vekovich         26/12/2007



cc. Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Serbia

The Ecclesiastic Court of the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand, New Gracanica Metropolitanate,

Most Reverend Archpriest (Stavrofor) Nedeljko Milanovic (Western Region Dean, Diocese for Australia and New Zealand, New Gracanica Metropolitante,

Diocesan Council and The Serbian Orthodox Metropolitate of New Gracanica Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, Canberra,

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese for Australia and New Zealand, Sydney

The Church-School Congregation of St Sava, Greensborough,


Ethnic Serbian media.

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