Fr Arsic had been waiting anxiously to find out how the church would handle the scandal.
Finally, the then Bishop Irinej, now Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, telephoned.“Thank you bishop…
Patriarch Irinej was angry with Fr Arsic - and the three teenagers - because they had previously discussed the allegations with the local media.‘Naïve as sheep’“Instead of us talking to him, he talked to us,” Father Arsic says of the meeting with the then Bishop Irinej.
“It became clear that everyone in the church already knew [of child abuse] but was keeping quiet.
Only we were naïve as sheep, believing in the purity of our church leaders.” The identity of the three clergymen selected to serve on the commission had not, until now, been disclosed.
Fr Ilarion says he was, however, forced to retire by the church.
Another case, involving Fr Ilarion, who was then abbot of Hopovo monastery in northern Serbia, also ended inconclusively.
Judicial delays resulted in the charges expiring under Serbia’s six-year statue of limitations.
Three local teenagers had previously come to him - and other priests and nuns - claiming that Bishop Pahomije had sexually abused them.
In the course of the police investigation into the three boys’ allegations, several other underage boys also claimed to have been similarly abused by Bishop Pahamije.