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News 08 Jan 18

Sex Scandal Bishop's Service Causes Anger in Bosnia

Some Bosnians and Serbs have expressed shock over a video showing a former Serbian Orthodox Bishop – who was forced to retire over a sex scandal – holding a Christmas liturgy in Bijeljina.

Mladen Lakic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Bishop Kacavenda holding Christmas service Photo: BN TV print screen

Many Bosnians and Serbs have reacted with dismay after a video published by Bosnia's BN TV station showed a former bishop, Vasilije Kacevenda, holding a Christmas Service on Sunday, which was Christmas Day in the calendar of the Serbian Orthodox Church. 

“On one of the most important holidays, the Church brings one of the sinful priests back to church. Are you ashamed of Jesus, or is everything now reduced to favours?” Aleksandar Trifunovic, editor-in-chief of BUKA, a prominent website in Bosnia, wrote on Twitter. 

 

“I do not have anything to add, this is just shocking but it is also defeating how a situation like this has become normal here,” Trifunovic told BIRN.

Antonela Riha and Tatjana Vojtehovski, prominent journalists from Serbia, also expressed their dismay on Twitter.

“I respect people who believe in God but I cannot understand those who can accept a priest like this,” Riha wrote.

“Well, well, he does not have time to come to court but he has time for this,” Vojtehovski commented, referring to the on-going process in which Kacavenda has sued her for defamation over her TV show, on which a young priest testified about the aleged sex scandals involving the cleric.

The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, its highest ruling body, in 2013 accepted the resignation of Kacavenda as Bishop of Tuzla and Zvornik in Bosnia.

The bishop asked to resign in November 2012 for health reasons, according to the Church's statement, but his decision to step down has been linked to the release of a video in which he can be seen kissing a young man.

Bishop Kacavenda had a controversial reputation long before the alleged sex scandal broke five years ago, however.

This relates to his close involvement with and support for the Bosnian Serb army during the bloody 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kacavenda was seen as close to the Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, and is remembered for his anti-Muslim propaganda, and for blessing young soldiers going to war against non-Serbs.

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