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Верзија на Македонски

The Schism in FYRMacedonia


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section: holy synod of bishops\announcements

→ Ελληνικά

26.08.2014

The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on its meeting held on August 26, the present year, decided to initiate an ecclesiastical court process against archbishop Stefan, the prelate of the “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, which is in schism with the Orthodox Church, due to his persistence to remain in schism, his unchristian participation in the persecution of Archbishop Jovan, the canonical prelate of the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric, and of his clergy, monastics and faithful people, as well as due to a number of other anti-canonical activities.

From the Office of the Holy Synod of Bishops

Source: http://spc.rs/sr/saopshtenje_za_javnost_11


section: news

18.07.2014

On July 17, 2014, the domestic media published the news that the Court of Appeals in Skopje had confirmed the verdict of the Court of First Instance Skopje 1, by which His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje is sentenced to three years of imprisonment, and the rest of the convicted Bishops, priests, monastics and faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric are sentenced to conditional two years of imprisonment, if they repeat the deed for which they are accused of by the Court in the next five years. At the same time, the Court is confiscating property of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, which it decided to give to the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Until this moment, neither Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, who is currently imprisoned for already two years and eight months in the Idrizovo prison, nor any of the other convicted members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, have received the verdict of the Court of Appeals.

As the media reported, through the confirmation of the verdict by the Court of Appeals, the verdict for three years of imprisonment for the Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje becomes effective.


section: holy synod of bishops\announcements

24.05.2014

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church held its regular meeting from 14th to 24th May 2014. The Assembly published an Announcement for its ten-day work, in one part of which it also speaks of the canonical Church in R. Macedonia, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

In the mentioned part of the final Announcement, the Assembly stresses that: “the authorities in R. Macedonia, on basis of a judicial farce, continue to keep Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid in prison, in unhuman conditions, and are at the same time imposing pressure with threats and verdicts of a similar kind, also upon the other Bishops, priests, monks, nuns and believers of the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric.

The Assembly once again appeals to all the responsible, to do everything for the liberation of the political prisoner number one in contemporary Europe, Archbishop Jovan, and calls for ceasing of the last religious persecution in Europe, the persecution of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

The Assembly is grateful to the topical Orthodox Churches, to the World Council of Churches, to the Conference of European Churches, to the organisations for protection of the human rights and to many renowned persons for their intercession in regards to this painful issue.“

The Assembly also addressed many other important issues from the life of the Church.

 

The complete text of the Announcement:

http://spc.rs/sr/saopshtenje_za_javnost_svetog_arhijerejskog_sabora


section: news

11.01.2014

The Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the state University of Aristotle in Thessaloniki, Professor Michael Tritos, whose field of expertise is the history of the Slavic Churches, on the occasion of the passed two years of imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, for Romfea, expressed his personal stance in regard to this subject:

“The case of the imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid represents a stain, and disgrace for the 21st century civilization and for the international human rights and religious freedoms organizations. This hierarch-martyr is being continuously convicted by the criminal courts in Skopje, because he had the courage to proclaim that the ‘macedonian’ church of Skopje is schismatic, since it violates the basic principles of orthodox ecclesiology and prefers ethnophiletistic goals.

Unfortunately, a country that claims it respects the human rights and which tends to join NATO and the European Union, is actually supporting an authoritarian regime, with the silent inaction and indifference of the European Union and the United States of America!

We believe that the solution for the problem of the church in Skopje, in the present conditions, shows great difficulties, due to the stifling embrace of the state upon this church, and its utilization as a public service for purposes foreign to its spiritual mission.

In order to have positive development of this issue, the following preconditions should be met:

  1. Immediate release of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, who already passed two years in imprisonment, in the Idrizovo prison, in Skopje.
  2. The authorities should leave freedom to the Church, so that she fulfills its spiritual goals.
  3. The Schismatic church should ask for forgiveness from the mother – church of Serbia, for the coup by which it had separated, and to acknowledge as anti-canonical its actions since 1967 until today.
  4. To accept the name of the luminous Archbishopric of Ohrid, and not of Macedonia.

Under these preconditions, it is possible that initially autonomy is granted, following the example of Finland and Estonia, and later – why not – autocephaly as well.

In that way, an open wound in the body of the Orthodox Church would be closed, and the one-and-a-half million Orthodox that live in Skopje would cease to be victims of every kind of proselytism.”

 

Source:

http://www.romfea.gr/arthra-apopseis/21609-2014-01-09-08-56-18


section: news

03.01.2014

His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, in his most recent epistle for Christmas, which he delivered to the public on January 3, 2014, addressed the state persecution on religious basis that is performed against Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

In the epistle, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia sent an appeal to the authorities of R. Macedonia and to the international community:

“We wish a virtuous and blessed Christmas to our imprisoned brother and concelebrant, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan, and all his persecuted and suffering Orthodox Church in the Republic of Macedonia. The government there holds him imprisoned unjustly, and they prohibit freedom of faith and conscience to his faithful flock because they have decided for the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. That ethno-phyletistic schism is the biggest tragedy of our Church in the Republic of Macedonia. Unfortunately, schismatics have placed politics and ethno-phyletism above the unity of the Church.

We appeal to the government of the Republic of Macedonia to immediately and without delay release our father, brother and concelebrant the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skople Jovan, and to afford full rights and freedom as guaranteed by law to God’s Church, the Archdiocese of Ohrid.

We also appeal to the international community, who before their very eyes see how basic human and religious rights are being violated in the Republic of Macedonia, that they take the measures necessary to prevent further discrimination against the Church and her people.”


section: news

16.12.2013

R. Macedonia’s Parliamentary Committee on Political System and Inter-Ethnic Relations, on December 12 and 13, 2013, organized a public hearing on the subject: “Analysis of the respect of the constitutionally guaranteed right to presumption of innocence, the findings regarding the abuse of the measure detention, violation of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the media, as well as the right for public protest in R. Macedonia”.

Politicians, officials, professors, journalists and citizens of R. Macedonia took part as witnesses in the hearing.

Taking part in the hearing was also the expert on human rights, university professor Mirjana Najcevska Ph.D., who in her exposition, amongst other issues, spoke of the treatment of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid by the authorities, undoubtedly naming his imprisonment in the detention prison as – method of torture by the authorities! Namely, despite the fact that he was already in prison, as soon as the new staged court process against him began, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid was transferred to detention prison, where he spent one whole year in severe and substandard conditions!

What was loudly spoken by prof. Mirjana Najcevska Ph.D, in the Assembly of R. Macedonia is certainly known to everybody, starting from the fact that what is happening to Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid had not happened to anyone in our recent history! It is a disgraceful school example of state torture on religious basis, taking into account that in the last eleven years Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid is imprisoned for the seventh time, and by a new verdict, he is being sentenced to an additional three years of imprisonment! This is known to everyone, but only few are not afraid to speak of it publicly!

We are addressing an appeal to the domestic and the international public, for ceasing the mentioned torture on religious basis, for taking in account the calls of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, of the World Council of the Churches, of the Conference of European Churches, for looking into the international reports that speak of the violation of the religious freedoms in R. Macedonia, and for finding the strength for immediate release from prison of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, and for respecting the religious beliefs of the Church whose prelate he is, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, with the purpose of reaching the high standards of the advanced democracies, and for a better future of all citizens of our homeland.


section: news

08.11.2013

The Tenth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) is taking place in Busan, South Korea, from 30 October to 8 November. Taking part in the assembly are 2.190 representatives of the topical Orthodox Churches, the Anglican and Protestant communities, as well as observers of the Roman-Catholic and other Churches that are not members of the WCC, who assembled to discuss the most important issues regarding the Christianity in the world.

The World Council of Churches has expressed deep concern over the issue of respecting the rights of the Orthodox believers R. Macedonia. During the General Assembly, the Council issued a public Statement about the politicization of religion and the rights of religious minorities, stating:

 “The Government of R. Macedonia categorically denied the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric the right to register as a religious community. The government’s involvement in the legal system of the country resulted in the unlawful confinement of the head of this Church.”

The World Council of Churches urged the governments of all countries to strengthen the mechanisms that would ensure survival and protection of the rights of religious minorities. Furthermore, the states are encouraged to implement anti-discrimination laws in order to protect individuals and communities that are being persecuted for professing their faith.



section: news

01.11.2013

The first President of the pluralistic Assembly of R. Macedonia, who on three terms presided the Assembly, the renowned politician Stojan Andov, in his article in the weekly magazine “Fokus” (nr. 942, from 25.10.2013) once again spoke of the court verdicts against Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje.

The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric has already indicated that the intervention of the state through the interference of the judiciary, for providing the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) a religious monopoly, makes our country a factor of instability in the region!

We are witnesses that the court which persistently denies the registration of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is the same court which sentenced Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid to three years of imprisonment, and the other Bishops, monastics and faithful people of the Archbishopric to a conditional prison sentence. In that way, the court has turned into an instrument of persecution of the religious freedoms in our homeland, causing destruction of the civilization values!

In his article, Stojan Andov writes that not a small number of court processes are received as purges of stalinistic character of the elements that are considered inappropriate by the authorities, and that is exactly what leads our homeland towards a dangerous state. He also highlights that: “the verdicts against Bishop Jovan Vraniskovski, for the civilized world, are of incomprehensible reasons, and are regarded as an outcome of the government’s insisting to court sentences motivated by religious intolerance!”

In the direction of respecting the human rights and religious freedom, it is necessary for the government to fully liberate itself from the communist heritage of persecution of the Church, the politicians and the publicity to liberate themselves from the memory of conflicts, in order to be able to pass from a state of conflict to a state of conciliation. The normalization of the state of the respecting of religious freedoms is one of the basic conditions without which it is not possible to continue on the path towards the advanced democratic polities!


section: news

06.10.2013

In his homily during the Divine Liturgy which he officiated during the celebration of 1700 years of the Edict of Milan, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew spoke of several burning issues for the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Bartholomew also indicated the persecution that is being performed against Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the canonical Church in R. Macedonia! In his addressing, he stated:

“… furthermore, in our orthodox ecclesiastical milieu, various schisms, apostasies, and even heresies  are appearing; thieves and robbers who do not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climb in by some other way (John 10, 2-3). Hierarchs are being persecuted, as for example His Beatitude and our beloved brother, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid; priests, monastics and faithful people are being persecuted because they respect the canonical order, they recognize their spiritual adherence to the canonical Churches and they do not enlist in the anti-canonical – supported by various state factors – seemingly ecclesiastical formations, and thus, as the blessed John the Chrysostom says, they are being persecuted “only because the bear Christ’s name”.

Every soberly-thinking man will understand that these words are loudly witnessing across the world, that the state apparatus of R. Macedonia is not capable of practicing the Edict of Milan, hence it demonstrates that our homeland is brought back to the times before the Edict and not all citizens are equally allowed to enjoy religious freedoms!

Despite all this, may St Constantine the Great be a motivation and an example for every political leader!

It should not be forgotten that the Edict of Milan was signed by two Emperors who at the time of the signing were not Christians, but they knew what was the interest of the state: “may each one have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases; this regulation is made  that we may not seem to detract from any dignity of any religion” (from the text of the Edict of Milan)!

No matter how hard they try to mislead and misinform the domestic public by spreading untruths about Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the reality is revealing them, hence certain political figures, schismatics and journalists in the Orthodox world are being recognized exactly as those who raise their hands against Christ himself!

 

Homily of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew spoken on the Liturgy in Nis, 06.10.2013.


section: news

26.09.2013

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (http://assemblyofbishops.org/about), held its fourth annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Forty-three Bishops representing eleven Church jurisdictions were present at the meeting. At the end of the meeting, an official announcement was published.

During the Assembly, the Bishops devoted time also to the state persecution on religious basis, which is performed upon Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the canonical Church in R. Macedonia, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. In the mentioned announcement, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America states:

 “We have also been apprised and are deeply concerned about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as a result of exercising his fundamental human right of religious freedom. We urge our faithful to stand in prayer and solidarity for a prompt and positive resolution to this issue.”

http://assemblyofbishops.org/about/documents/2013-message-of-the-assembly-of-bishops


section: news

A Bishop behind bars

18.07.2013

In a recent posting, I noted that the European Union had put forward some detailed ideas about how religious freedom should be fostered outside its borders; and also that it still gave its own 28 members lots of leeway in handling church-state relations. That is not just a hypothetical point. Countries that aspire to join the EU find their governance, legal systems and performance on human rights (including religious freedom) scrutinised closely; once they squeeze through the gates, the pressure slackens.

As it happens, there is one would-be EU member whose recent record on religious freedom may fall short of the standard which the Union, albeit a tad hypocritically, expects from its aspiring neighbours. If the country were already inside the door, it might get off more lightly. But that doesn't make things any better. The country in question is Macedonia, where an internationally recognised Christian bishop has been locked up on charges which many human-rights campaigners regard as trumped-up. The World Council of Churches says he is the victim of persecution; the Conference of European Churches has called for his release; Amnesty International once called him a prisoner of conscience. 

Who is he? On July 2nd, Archbishop Jovan Vraniskovski of Ohrid (to use the title he uses, and most of the Christian world recognises) was given a three-year jail term for "embezzlement"; given that his current stay in jail (the latest in a series) has already lasted 18 months, he seems set to remained incarcerated until the end of next year. To explain his bizarre story, it helps to go back to the 1960s, when relations between communist Yugoslavia's republics were volatile and mostly conducted by party apparatchiks behind closed doors. Those apparatchiks controlled virtually everything that happened in the country, including the limited religious life which the communist system tolerated. As a way of cutting Serbia down to size, the party bosses agreed in 1967 that it would be a good idea if the republic of Macedonia had its own Orthodox church, instead of being part of the Serbian one.

Under Orthodox rules, new ecclesiastical bodies normally gain independence not through communist fiat but by the consent of their mother church, and of the other Orthodox churches round the world. So when a Macedonian Orthodox Church was duly proclaimed, it never gained full recognition from its Serbian parent, or any acknowledgement from global Orthodoxy. In 2002, with Marxism a distant memory, a meeting of Serbian and Macedonian bishops tried to heal the breach; it was agreed that the Macedonian church would realign with the Serbian one, and instantly be granted wide-ranging autonomy. 

But most of Macedonia's hierarchs soon renounced that deal. To a country that was struggling to consolidate its independence in the face of a bitter dispute with Greece over its name, nothing short of a fully independent national church seemed acceptable. But one prelate, Archbishop Jovan, stuck by the 2002 accord, and he is therefore regarded by global Orthodoxy as head of the only legitimate Orthodox authority in Macedonia, notionally based in the lakeside city of Ohrid. The leaders of the Macedonian Orthodox Church view Jovan as a schismatic – and that in turn is how he, and world Orthodoxy, view them.

Nothing unusual about all that. Orthodox bishops have a record of quarrelling about matters which seem arcane to outsiders. But Archbishop Jovan's treatment by the authorities in Skopje seems harsh. His first spell in jail followed his arrest for such heinous crimes as celebrating the Eucharist in a private house and conducting a baptism. The latest trial, which also led to suspended sentences for his mother and sister and a dozen prominent members of his church organisation, took a bizarre turn on the final day. 

I discussed the trial with Voislav Stojanovski, a Macedonian lawyer who observed the proceedings for the Helsinki Committee, part of a network of human-rights groups. He told me that just as people were awaiting the verdict, the chief judge unexpectedly called a last-minute witness, who claimed to have negotiated over a possible land sale with the accused cleric. The witness said he had negotiated both on his own behalf and on behalf of several neighbours who had authorised him, though a written proxy, to offer their land. The archbishop denied ever having met the witness. His defence lawyer requested to see the written proxy. The court president and his two fellow judges then left the court-room to consider that request and returned after 20 minutes, with a refusal. Mr Stojanovski said it was an unusual breach of procedure for judges to leave the court at such a sensitive moment.

None of that proves that the verdict was a miscarriage of justice. But it does look distinctly fishy. By their own lights, of course, the Macedonian authorities are simply cracking down in various ways on an illegal, unregistered organisation. But then, requiring religious bodies to submit to licensing from the state, which can be denied on whim, is a notorious way of suppressing freedom of conscience. At some point, they will have to explain themselves to the European Union and also to the European Court of Human Rights, which is considering the legality of the Macedonian authorities' refusal to register Archbishop Jovan's church.

Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2013/07/bishop-behind-bars


section: news

09.07.2013

The Conference of European Churches, which from 3rd to 8th July held its 14th General Assembly in Budapest, at the end of its work issued an announcement in regard to the arresting and the imprisonment of His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, by the authorities of R. Macedonia.

The announcement states:

The Assembly of CEC has learned with great concern about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan in R. Macedonia. It is believed that his detention is a result of him exercising his human right of religious freedom. Reaffirming that freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the European Convention on Human Rights to which R. Macedonia is a party.

The CEC Assembly affirms the call by the World Council of Churches on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to carefully investigate this case.

The CEC Assembly calls on the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the EU Special Representative on Human Rights to urgently look into this case. In particular, the CEC Assembly requests that the institutions see whether the detention conditions are in line with standards as set out by the Council of Europe.

We urge the government of R. Macedonia and H.E. Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of R. Macedonia, to assure a fair trial and immediately release of Archbishop Jovan, pending his trial, in accordance with R. Macedonia’s national criminal law provisions.

We request the member churches of CEC to join in prayer and solidarity with Archbishop Jovan by sending letters of protest to the responsible authorities.

Source: http://blogg.svenskakyrkan.se/cecfuturewall/2013/07/08/churches-should-support-the-marginalised/


section: news

22.04.2013

The US State Department published its regular Human Rights Report on R. Macedonia.

The biggest accent is put on the government’s failure fully to respect the rule of law, primarily reflected in the interference in the judiciary and the media, in the selective prosecution of political opponents of the country’s leaders and significant levels of government corruption. The report stresses the existence of police impunity and the political interference in the judiciary, its favoritism, inefficiency and corruption that slowed the delivery of justice.

As one of the most acute problems, the report does not omit to mention the mistreatment of detainees and prisoners by the police and the prison guards, the poor conditions and overcrowding in the state prisons, as well as the delayed access to legal counsel by detainees and defendants. The report clearly indicates that the country’s prisons and detention centers do not meet international standards, they are in dilapidated condition, and the prisoners are held – as it is stated – in deplorable, dangerous and unhygienic environment, while most of the prisoners are locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day.

The US State Department report also quotes the report of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture which particularly criticizes the treatment of the prisoners and requests that they are not held in the equivalent of solitary confinement.

We remind that His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, having serious health problems, for one year and five months is being held exactly in such conditions (locked in a cell for 23 hours a day) for which the Council of Europe concludes that they “equal solitary confinement”!

The US State Department report further highlights that the law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but that is not being respected, and the arbitrary arrest and detention remained an open problem. The report states that although the Constitution and the laws provide for an independent judiciary, the government exercised political pressure and intimidation on the judicial branch. Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid in the last ten years is being imprisoned for the sixth time by the mentioned judiciary, against him series of politically rigged court processes are lead, and the last year a great number of monastics and faithful people of the Archbishopric were spectacularly arrested and detained with handcuffs on their hands. Also, through the rigged court processes, in 2012, the period covered by this US State Department report, the state persecution on religious basis has expanded against other Bishops, priests, monastics and faithful of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

In regard to the freedom of speech, the US State Department again notes that although the Constitution and the laws provide for freedom of speech and press, the government do not always demonstrate respect for this right in practice, and government pressure on the media is a continuing problem!

The consequences of not respecting the human rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of R. Macedonia, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric and its Prelate, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, are suffering for more than one decade. More than one decade in regard to the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric through one-sided informing, with very few exceptions, a systematic campaign of hate speech is being conducted.

The torture on religious basis of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, through the continuous politically motivated imprisonments of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, through the court processes against almost all Bishops, against the monastics and the faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, as well as through the illegal denial of its registration in the Macedonian courts – continues!

The report is available in full on the following location: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204523.pdf

In addition to this information, we are reminding of the following video material:


section: holy synod of bishops\correspondence

Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje

Protocol № 96 from 3rd March 2010

To: The Council of Europe, Strasbourg



Highly esteemed,

At the beginning of this addressing, we send You our greetings.

In continuation, we would like to very briefly inform You about the violation of the basic religious freedoms of the part of the citizens of R. Macedonia. We are acquainted with the fact that our country will be presiding the Council of Europe and we consider that it is necessary to draw attention to the paradoxical situation that an esteemed institution, such as the Council of Europe, will be presided exactly by R. Macedonia, which violates the basic religious freedoms of a part of its own citizens! Namely, in R. Macedonia exists the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric with a recognized autonomous status in the world of Orthodox Christianity, but persecuted by the state in its homeland. Her prelate, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje k.k. Jovan, has served two prison terms because of his religious beliefs, and the court on two terms refuses the registration of the Archbishopric in the register of religious communities. In regard to the imprisonments of Archbishop Jovan and the refusal of registration of the Archbishopric to which, among the other nationalities, the Macedonian citizens of Serbian nationality also belong, the representative of the Serbs in the Government and Member of Parliament, Mr. Ivan Stoiljkovic stated: “it is not being mentioned that the Serbs in Macedonia cannot realize their religious freedom, granted by the Constitution” (Blic, 24th February 2010).

For a more precise insight into the above stated, in continuation we enclose a chronological overview of a part of the events, since the constitution of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric in 2002 until today.

Many international institutions and organizations have also spoken out against this persecution. Following are only a few examples:

US Department of State constantly includes in its “Religious Freedom Report” and “Human Rights Report” information regarding the restrictions of the religious freedoms of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the existence of religious prisoners, the violation of freedom of movement, the police terror and demolition of a monastery, the prevention of OSCE from obtaining a copy of the decision upon which the demolition was carried out, the police interrogations of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric etc. (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108458.htm, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90187.htm, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71394.htm, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51567.htm, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2004/35470.htm etc.)

US Mission to the OSCE warned of “Violation of freedom of religion” and “encouraged the authorities to apply the law fairly”, advising “the government should avoid involving in religious disputes”, reminding that “Article Nine of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the Macedonian Constitution as well as Macedonia’s OSCE commitments, and international norms, all guarantee his right to freedom of religion.” (http://osce.usmission.gov/media/pdfs/2004-statements/fyrom_2-5-04.pdf).

Amnesty International declared the Archbishop Jovan “a prisoner of conscience”. (http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR05/001/2006/en/28018728-d44a-11dd-8743-d305bea2b2c7/eur050012006en.html)

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights constantly reports about the violation of the religious freedoms and human rights of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, among other issues, pointing out that the imprisonment of the Archbishop Jovan is “The most high profile of religious freedom violation” (http://mhc.org.mk/default-mk.asp?ItemID=577B948E52C7B648A9F4398C90B0A71C&arc=1, http://mhc.org.mk/default-mk.asp?ItemID=D269C890ADF91F4D8B26B40C32163802&arc=1 etc.)

The European Commission pointed out that “cases of violations of religious freedom exist” and emphasized that “the new law should provide more liberal procedure for registering religious communities” in its report. (http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2006/nov/fyrom_sec_1387_en.pdf)

Forum 18 reports that “Official discrimination continues”, “New Religion Law perpetuates discrimination” etc. (http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1335, http://forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1107 etc.)

Highly esteemed,

This is only a part of the persecution that the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric faces in the past eight years.

This information for continuation of the limitations of our rights is at the same time an appeal to all the persons being in position to assist the implementation of the Democratic laws and values regarding the respect of religious freedom for all the citizens in the Republic of Macedonia, without any ethnic or religious prejudice, as one of the basic conditions for integration in the Euro-Atlantic civilization trends.

With respect,

Bishop
† David of Stobi and Administrator of Strumica

© orthodox ohrid archbishopric 2004-2014
http://spc.rs - Serbian Orthodox Church Orthodox Christianity.ru www.kolivart.com

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