Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church regarding Antonije (Davidović)

Regarding the announcement that monk Antonije, a brother of the Crna Reka Monastery in the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, will be holding a press conference tomorrow, February 24, 2010 in the Media Center in Belgrade regarding what the Media Center says in its announcement "events in the Diocese of Raška and Prizren that are causing confusion among the public”, we consider it our duty to explain who monk Antonije is and what his intentions and of those who stand behind him are.

Monk Antonije Davidović, former "deputy abbot" of Crna Reka Monastery, is already known to the public for his involvement in a protest that prevented the Anglican celebration of Christmas on December 24, 2002 in the Patriarchate. On that occasion, monk Antonije and the gathered pseudo-zealots verbally assaulted Serbian Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory and Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Coastlands in the crudest fashion. Only a month later, on January 29, 2003, monk Antonije and a group of some thirty like-minded persons organized a new protest in front of the Patriarchate building. On that occasion, Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory, who personally went down among the gathered people, warned monk Antonije that "his zeal is not reasonable" and that "he can address (the Church) only through his competent Bishop." Antonije’s reply to the Patriarch: "I do not need anyone's blessing to defend the Church from destruction and Orthodoxy from heresy," warning Patriarch Pavle "not to go to heretics because with these visits he has trampled on all the canons." (These actions themselves attest to the absence of any awareness of the church, and especially monastic conscience and spirituality in this man.)

Because of his disrespectful conduct, insulting the Serbian Patriarch and creating confusion in the Church, the Holy Synod of Bishops in April 2003 (act no. 737) and subsequently the Holy Assembly of Bishops on May 21, 2003 (decision AS no. 62/entry 122), kindly requested His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raška and Prizren “to bring the intractable monk Antonije Davidović, a brother of Crna Reka Monastery, before an ecclesiastical court, to remove his monastic rank and return him to the ranks of the laity”. The Holy Assembly of Bishops kindly requested Bishop Artemije “to forbid the monks of his Diocese of jurisdiction any activities outside of their home Diocese without the approval of the competent bishops”.

This decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, which was signed by all the bishops, as well as many other decisions related to the uncanonical and anti-church behavior of individuals from the Diocese of Raška and Prizren was never carried out by Bishop Artemije, although it was repeated during the meeting of the Assembly in 2006 and 2009 along with decisions on the initiation of church proceedings against protosingel Simeon Vilovski and dissolution of the Rade Neimar company. Although monk Antonije has, in the meanwhile, "withdrawn" to a hermitage near Crna Reka, he remains active in his destructive actions against the Church. During the recent tragicomic protests in front of the Patriarchate on February 13 this year, and then in front of Gračanica Monastery, monk Antonije could be seen together with the other monks of Crna Reka and their hegumen Nikolaj.

Yesterday, February 22, 2010, monk Antonije went public with an interview for the daily newspaper “Pravda” in which he presented a whole series of impudent lies and slanders against the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church regarding the current situation in the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, and announcing a press conference for February 24 in the Media Center in Belgrade (of course, contrary to church order, without the knowledge and approval of the Patriarch as the competent Archbishop of Belgrade-Karlovci).

He is, therefore, a man who lives outside every church and monastic order, in disobedience of the Church and his competent Bishop, who is now Bishop Atanasije. (We doubt that he would listen to Bishop Artemije, either, to whom he does not relate as his spiritual father but as a guru, if Bishop Artemije told him not to do what he is doing.) His past misdeeds undermine the reputation of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, Bishop Artemije protected monk Antonije for years, just as he persistently protected protosingel Simeon and others, who have inflicted and are inflicting enormous material and moral damage both to him personally and to the Diocese of Raška and Prizren and to our entire Holy Church.

We wish to inform all media employees that all statements, written or oral, given by monk Antonije Davidović are the personal opinion of an irresponsible man of completely unbalanced behavior, and cannot be considered by the serious media to be relevant statements regarding the situation in the Diocese of Raška and Prizren or the Serbian Orthodox Church in general.

Because of his damaging activities to date monk Antonije will in the very near future bear canonical consequences because the decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops adopted long ago in relation to him will be carried out.

Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Submitted by Bishop Irinej of Bačka (by his own hand)