Church arsonist blames heavy-metal hero
By Steve Butcher
May 5, 2005
A devoted follower of a Scandinavian band notorious for its heavy metal anti-Christian music burnt down a majestic Moonee Ponds church in a multimillion-dollar arson attack.
Novak Majstorovic had drunken visions of the 107-year-old Ascot Vale Uniting Church being responsible for society's problems with law, ethics and morality.
Majstorovic, 19, admitted his passion for the band Burzum, whose lead singer was allegedly involved in burning down numerous Norwegian churches in the 1990s, helped create a heavy metal ideological imagery based on good and evil.
"It can be explained through any real meanings, you know, but using God and Satan is just like a... it's an image," he told police after his arrest.
Victorian arson squad detectives treated Majstorovic as a suspect after investigations revealed his interest in Burzum and "black metal" music and culture.
Police learnt the band's lead singer Varg Vikernes, now in jail for murder, was commonly referred to as a Satanist, but was regarded more as deeply anti-Christian and anti-Semitic.
Majstorovic yesterday appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to plead guilty to arson and burglary from the fire in Maribyrnong Road, Moonee Ponds, on August 29, 2004.
His lawyer Shannon Dellamarta said the damage was valued at more than $3 million.
In a summary tendered to the court, the church, widely used by its local community, was described as majestic and ornate. Its irreplaceable pipe organ and historic records were destroyed in the fire.
Majstorovic, who had drunk half a bottle of bourbon, had earlier left a party, telling guests he was going to burn the church. After entering, he lit Bibles, scrap paper, books and flags near the pulpit and left.
Asked days later by Detective Sergeant Andrew Kerr if he considered the elderly who had cried over the church or what it had stood for, Majstorovic replied: "It was what it stood for, but it's... it's just an object, you know. It's just a building. Faith lies with the individual."
Pressed by Sergeant Kerr about it being sacred and a "heart and soul of things", he said that the church "doesn't like people to cling to any sort of idols here on earth".
Majstorovic said that because he was drunk and near a church he thought he would act on an ideological belief the church was responsible for society's problems.
"A lot of the concepts of my ideologies and stuff would, sort of, stem from heavy metal, from the imagery of heavy metal, from the metaphors that heavy metal uses with the, like, Christian sort of metaphors of good and evil and such," he said.
Magistrate Lisa Hannan bailed Majstorovic, of Hoppers Crossing, to appear in the County Court on August 23.http://theage.com.au/articles/2005/05/04/1115092561935.html