LETTER OF RUSSIAN PATRIARCH ALEXY II TO SERBIAN PATRIARCH: WE PRAY FOR THE SPEEDY RELEASE OF ARCHBISHOP JOVAN
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle received a letter from His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All-Russia informing him of his efforts toward the speedy release of the imprisoned Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skopje. Below is the text of the letter in its entirety:
We are in receipt of your telegram regarding the imprisonment of Bishop Jovan in the Republic of Macedonia. This news, which was already known to us through the means of mass information, has deeply embittered and worried us.
We wish to advise Your Holiness that upon receipt of your telegram we sent a letter to the president of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. B. Crvenkovski, in which we appeal to him to release a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who is accused, to our best knowledge, solely for nonviolent actions following from his religious convictions.
In the same letter we point out that existing differences with respect to church organization in the Republic of Macedonia can be resolved only through proper church means, through dialogue based on the holy canons. We also reiterated that the situation that has resulted through the arrest of Bishop Jovan has become a very serious obstacle to the continuation of such dialogue, and that it is inflicting great damage to the mutual relations of two brotherly Orthodox peoples.
We are firmly convinced that the interference of state officials in the sphere of canonical competencies of the Church - and in the domain of religious life in general - only increases misunderstandings in society. This is also true in the case of the interference of the Church in the competencies of state institutions.”
We assure Your Holiness that we are praying fervently for the speediest release of our suffering brother, and for the healing of the wounds of schism and conflict in the Republic of Macedonia, which are painful to the entire Orthodox world, the manifestations of which, to our sorrow, have recently been doubled.
With lasting and always unchanged love in Our Lord,
Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia