Following the sentencing of His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skopje by a court in Bitola, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church wishes to express its bitterness and shock upon this act of trampling of elementary religious and human rights.
We had hoped that the time of persecution of the Church had passed. The sentence against Archbishop Jovan, recognized by all local Orthodox Churches, represents a sentence against all of Orthodoxy.
Hence, we call on the state institutions of the Republic of Macedonia to withdraw this senseless act that only serves to cast an irreparable stain on this country and on its justice system before God, justice and the international public.
In Belgrade, July 22, 2005