Beginning August 16, the convent of Novo-Stienik in Serbia found itself at odds with a group of approximately 1,000 members of the Rainbow Gathering, who held their 2008 meeting in Serbia. At the outset, members of the gathering were curious about the monastery, which is located near the gathering, and relations were friendly until local residents became concerned about the Gathering’s predilection towards nudism, in response to which the monastery placed placards reading “This is Serbia” and warning that nudism was prohibited in the area. This soured the relations between the monastery and the Gathering, which began nude provocations in front of the monastery. According to the report, on August 17, a nun was allegedly approached by “a stranger in his middle ages, [who] dashed onto the monastery grounds completely naked and started to dance in front of the nun”, which led to one of the monks following the priestmonk in charge of the convent to strike at the individual, causing him to run away.
Father Acacius, the spiritual director of the monastery, informed the Gathering’s organizers to cease and desist from future “nude visits”, which the organizers claim they shall attempt to follow, and which Father Acacius says will be dealt with “by the patriots and Orthodox believers, in order to make this shame stop by force”.
The Rainbow Gathering meets yearly at different locations throughout the world and claims to espouse the ideals of “espousing and practicing ideals of peace, love, harmony, freedom and community, as a consciously expressed alternative to mainstream popular culture, consumerism, capitalism and mass media.” Apparently they had little regard for the harmony of the community of which they decided to bother for this year’s meeting.