On the basis of a Memorandum that was signed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Belgrade on 15 November 2014, and with the blessing of both, Russian and Serbian Patriarchs, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, paid a working visit to R. Macedonia from 19 – 20 December 2014.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion visited Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan, who for the sake of this meeting, was temporary transferred from the prison of Idrizovo to the Skopje hospital “Mother Theresa” on 20 December. After these talks, Archbishop Jovan was returned back to the prison.
On the same day Metropolitan Hilarion, accompanied by Mr. Oleg Scherbak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to R. Macedonia, met with President of the R. Macedonia Mr. Djordje Ivanov. Following this meeting, chairman of the DECR talked with President of the Government of the R. Macedonia Mr. Nikola Gruevski and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikola Popovski. Ultimately, Metropolitan Hilarion also met with the head of the self-proclaimed, non-canonical Macedonian Orthodox Church Kyr Stephen.
While in Skopje, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion led these talks guided by the concern for unity of the Church, its salvific mission and salvation of the baptized souls in FYR Macedonia, and with respect to the perspective of regulating the canonical status of the Church in this area as well as to the unconditional final release of His Eminence Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, who had been sentenced to hard labor in a manipulated political process.
The Serbian Orthodox Church expresses herewith its deep gratitude to the sister Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk for fraternal love and cooperation, for the invested great efforts in the ministry for the canonical order and unity of the Church, as well as towards the release of His Eminence Archbishop Jovan, imprisoned without any reason, and subjected to a cruel regime in prison despite his severely impaired health.
Bishop Irinej of Bachka,
Spokesman of the Serbian Orthodox Church
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