Tanjug: Simeon Vilovski arrested today in Greece, Serbian Police Minister Dačić confirms

Belgrade, March 11 (TANJUG) – – Protosingel Simeon Vilovski was arrested today in a suburb of Thessaloniki in Greece, stated Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić.

Greek police arrested Vilovski, for whom an international warrant had been issued, around noon on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, Dačić told Tanjug. Criminal charges have been filed against archimandrite Simeon, the former hegumen of Banjska Monastery and dismissed bishop’s deputy of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, with the High Prosecutor’s office in Belgrade, and he is also charged with embezzlement of diocesan funds in the amount of several hundreds of thousands of euros.

Bishop Artemije of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, whose secretary was Vilovski, has been temporarily dismissed from duty by the decision of the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Reminder (by the Diocesan Info-Service):

Simeon Vilovski’s closest associate, Predrag Subotički, the former owner of the Rade Neimar Company, has been in custody since February 17. Before his arrest and the temporary removal of Bishop Artemije, Subotički was a member of the diocesan executive board of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren (despite the fact that he did not reside in Kosovo and Metohija), and also the chief consultant for financial matters for the Diocese. According to a statement from the Serbian Interior Ministry on February 17, 2010, and Tanjug news, “Subotički was arrested on suspicion of embezzling about 300,000 euros given to him in cash and without a receipt for reconstruction of monasteries. The Rade Neimar Company was involved in the reconstruction and rebuilding of monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija during the period from 2004 to 2009.”

After his transfer to Serbian authorities, it is expected that Simeon Vilovski will also appear very soon before an investigative judge in Belgrade on the basis of the indictment. Meanwhile, ecclesiastical-canonical proceedings against this cleric of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren are also scheduled to begin as previously decided by the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 2006, 2008 and 2009. (All the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church except for Bishop Artemije had signed these decisions.) In addition to the suspicion that he committed crimes of a financial nature, as stated in the indictment, Vilovski is also accountable for a whole series of canonical violations, some of which are mentioned in the statement of the Serbian Orthodox Church Information Service published on the Greek church website ROMFEA. In the meantime the information has been received in Belgrade from Piraeus Metropolitanate that Vilovski is not a cleric of the Greek Church which adds to the suspicion that the found documents in the Diocesan archives on his alleged transfer to the Greek Church on January 13, 2010 may not be canonically authentic and were produced most probably in order to help Fr. Simeon avoid the ecclesiastical responsibility in the Serbian Orthodox Church. This affair additionally increases the canonical complexity of this issue.