Dean Mr Michael Tritos: the imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan is a stain and disgrace for the 21st century civilization!
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:
- Immediate release of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, who already passed two years in imprisonment, in the Idrizovo prison, in Skopje.
- The authorities should leave freedom to the Church, so that she fulfills its spiritual goals.
- 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.
- 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.”