Woman from Belgrade accuses SPC Bishop of beating; He denies any wrongdoing

vladika jovan ćulibrk
Izvor: Goran Srdanov/Nova.rs

A woman from Belgrade who demanded anonymity told N1 TV on Monday that Bishop Jovan Culibrk of Pakrac and Slavonia, had beaten her up after she asked him about the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) anti-epidemic measures because some believers had received communion from the same spoon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

She said the Bishop attacked her in her friend’s apartment in Belgrade and that there were other women and a baby, but no one could stop him when he went berserk.

After the woman asked about the same spoon for many people, she said Jovan started yelling at her. She apologised and withdrew the question.

„That did not calm him down. He continued yelling at me, came after me and starting punching me,“ the woman said.

She added she demanded her face blurred and her name not published because „women who pointed at bully officials were usually publically condemned,“ but that she wanted her story to be heard at least.

The woman said she reported the incident to the police but was so upset and forgot to take her copy of the report.

When she went back to take it, she was told they could not find it but that they had sent it to the prosecutor’s office which rejected any action.

She also went for the second medical check-up after noticing a massive hematoma the day after the incident, but the medical record showed she had suffered minor injuries.

That was not enough for a public prosecutor’s ex-officio probe, and the woman was advised to file private charges, what she said she had done.

She said she didn’t know what the witnesses would say, if anything and that some women who were there stopped communicating with her.

She added she would understand if her friend kept silent since she and her husband worked for the Bishop.

After the incident, she said the Bishop sent a message to her not to dare telling anyone about it.

The woman said she heard others had problems with his temper and that the Bishop denied the beatings, only admitting to yelling at her after she provoked him.

In the meantime, the Slavonia Eparchy and Bishop Jovan denied the woman’s claims and announced a lawsuit for the violation of honour and reputation.

„After N1 published the story, the Diocese of Slavonia and the Bishop of Pakrac-Slavonia Jovan Culibrk vehemently deny the allegations and announce a lawsuit for violation of honour and reputations in line with to Serbia’s Criminal Code,“ the Episcopy said in a statement.

The woman told N1 TV she only wanted an apology and not any money or a punishment for the Bishop. Still, she said that if her attacker were someone else, not the SPC dignitary, the police and prosecutors would have reacted.