On the occasion of the Serbian Statehood Day on February 15, the President of Serbia gave a medal of merit to the Monastery of Prohor, which was accepted by Bishop Pahomije, who was suspected of having sexually abused four boys in 2002, on the premises of the Vranje diocese.
It seems that Vučić’s government, just like the previous ones led by Boris Tadić and Vojislav Kostunica, is eager to continue protecting paedophiles in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Nova reports that the abused boys confessed that Pahomije touched them, caressed them and forced them to “socialize” with him. However, the case reached a statute of limitations, and Pahomije was acquitted in 2006.
However, in March 2013, the Prosecutor’s Office in Vranje launched another investigation against Pahomije since a warehouseman in the diocese allegedly accused him of an assault that took place in 2003. After a year of investigation, however, the prosecution decided that there was no reason to initiate criminal proceedings against Pahomije.
Journalist Dejan Kozul, who has been reporting about sexual abuse in the Serbian Orthodox Church for years, believes that there is nothing strange about Pahomije being decorated by the authorities: “War criminals, paedophiles in the Church and various other criminals have long been considered ‘the elite’ in this country, i.e. people of honour, who go to state ceremonies and receive decorations. We would be surprised if it were the other way around. It is absolutely irrelevant that Pahomije received the merit as a representative of someone or something. They could have sent someone else to receive it. In any case, the message is clear: the representatives of the Church are not only protected from persecution, but they and the State act as one, which should not be surprising given that the state itself, like the Church, rapes families and children.”
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