STATEMENT FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THAILAND
regarding the theft of donations from the church
of All Saints in Pattaya
August 10, 2012 the Orthodox Church in Thailand (Moscow Patriarchate) notifies that the Pattaya's police arrested Anatoly Karajani a Russian citizen for the theft of donations from the All Saints Church in Pattaya. He was born in 1980, living in Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk region.
It was found that the theft of church donations was carried out repeatedly, with a premeditated plan using special devices. The arrest of Anatoly Karajani took place during a subsequent attempt to commit theft in the temple.
This crime, and the manner in which it was committed under the Criminal Code of Thailand, calls for up to 5 years in prison.
After the arrest Mr. Karajani showed repentance and he asked forgiveness of the Orthodox believers. He said that he stole from the church for about 2 months. The total amount stolen is estimated at 30,000 Thai Baht. The reason for stealing from the church, given by Mr. Karajani, was his financial distress, lack of work and hunger.
Priest Daniel Wanna visited Mr. Karajani’s rented room with the police in Pattaya. According to the testimony of fr. Daniel, the room had no furniture and no food. Unfortunately, marijuana was discovered there. When Mr. Karajani was asked why he had not asked for help from the priest or why he did not to come to the refectory of the church, where he could eat for free, Mr. Karajani answered that he felt shy. This suggests that Mr. Karajani was stealing donations from the church for more than merely food, probably marijuana.
Recognizing the complaint by All Saints parish for property damage, however, Mr. Karajani did not commit blasphemy nor did he insult the Name of God. Therefore, this crime was not so much a crime against God, but the desperation of a physically and mentally ill person in need of help and compassion.
Nevertheless, justice and civil laws of Thailand require that the damage caused by Mr. Karajani to All-Saints Church be compensated, the damage being the stolen donations to the temple. Therefore, the clergy of the Orthodox churches in Thailand, the wardens of the Orthodox parishes and missionaries, all wish to forgive the thief, and decide to collect the amount of 30,000 baht from their personal funds to repay the missing funds.
Guided by the words of mercy and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the fallen, Who «came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance» (Mt. 9:13), and the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church to - "condemn the sin, but not condemn the sinner » and humanitarian considerations, we sincerely forgive Mr. Karajani and hope that the love of Christ, which guides the Orthodox Church, will today become the healing medicine to cure him from sin. In following Christ, we repeat to Mr. Karajani: «sin no more, lest a worse thing come to you» (Jn.5:14).
Further we, the Orthodox Church in Thailand, officially request the civil authorities of the Kingdom not to press charges against Mr. Karajani for his robbery. We thank the authorities for hearing and accepting our request, dropping the prosecution of Mr. Karajani as an exception at the behest of the Church.
As reported by the Thai authorities, Mr. Karajani would be deported from Thailand to Russia, and he will be denied re-entry. Deportation proceedings will take from 2 to 4 months during which time he will be held in an immigration detention center, according to the immigration laws of the Kingdom.
10 August 2012
ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THAILAND (MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE)