OPEN LETTER TO ALL DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AND RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS REGARDING THE SUMMONS TO “PEDAGOGICAL MEASURES” I.E. THREATENING THE LIFE OF ARCHBISHOP JOVAN (JOHN) AND THE MEMBERS OF THE OHRID ARCBISHOPRIC
Your Excellencies, Highly Esteemed,
Being concerned because of the most recent events, the violation of the human rights, the religious discrimination and xenophobia which become inseparable part of the contemporary policy of the Macedonian authorities, we address you with unhidden hope that these anti Euro-Atlantic tendencies in our fatherland will soon be replaced with the fresh air of Europe, that is, with the actual fulfillment of the Convention for respect of the elementary religious freedoms, to which the Republic of Macedonia is only a declarative signatory.
The cause for our address is the ghastly and terrifying text of Metropolitan Nahum, member of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC), a church in doctrinaire disagreement with the Patriarchate of Constantinople and not recognized by any local Orthodox Church.
In his text, published in the newspaper “Dnevnik” dated from 30 July 2005, he writes that the response of the “Macedonian State and Church” to Archbishop John and the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is “mild” and is a “mere pedagogical measure or a children’s play”.
This time we will not enter further into explaining that the Ohrid Archbishopric is an autonomous Church, recognized and in communion with all Orthodox Churches, with its own Archbishop and the greatest part of its members with a Macedonian ethnic origin. What concerns us most is the phrase, constantly repeated by the Metropolitan Nahum, the “Macedonian State and Church” which conduct a fierce pedagogy over all those who do not share their opinion!!! Is this not violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia according to which the state is separated from the religious communities?! Does this not mean that the “Macedonian State and Church” are intermingled and hat they conduct a Caesar-papal inquisition?! Is this not a dangerous vocabulary used by a religious individual?! Is it an obligation for all Macedonians to belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church?! Is it not true that there are those who belong to the Ohrid Archbishopric, then there are the Macedonian Muslims, the Buddhist, even those who choose to be atheists?! Does not beauty rest in the respect of diversity!
Now, in a chronological order, in short, we would wish to present just a part of the “mere pedagogical measures and children’s games” with which the offspring of Marxism - the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and the bishops of the MOC (among which Nahum has a distinguished position of an ideological leader), play in the manner of totalitarian mages:
In June 2002, Archbishop John was brutally evicted from his home - the Metropolis of Veles, by armed police, without a court order. The case was accepted by the court in Strasbourg.
In January 2004, the monks of four monasteries were evicted from their monasteries by armed police, without a court order or a time limit. Some of them, just for praying at the private property of Archbishop John, were placed in temporary arrest or tried. The case was accepted by the court in Strasbourg.
In February 2004, the nuns from the monastery in the village Nizhepole were terrorized, their hairs were forcedly cut off and a fire was set to the monastery. The attackers remain undiscovered by the police.
In October 2004, the Macedonian authorities, with strong police protection, demolished the temple in the village Nizhepole with an explanation that there was not a building permit for the same. Of course, a permit was asked for, but this same government answered that the village was outside of urban zone and that not even one of the houses in that village had a building permit. Only the temple was demolished.
It is impossible to keep count of the number of times when the police “played” with the monks of the Ohrid Archbishopric, conducting a search of the vehicles at the border crossings and on the roads without even once issuing a search warrant. However, they never forgot to maltreat and threaten the members of the Ohrid Archbishopric.
Regarding these harassments, the Ombudsman, Mr. Idzet Memeti notified the police that they acted contrary to the law. Still, these harassments continue.
At the beginning of July 2005, first, the priest Borjan Vitanov was brutally beaten, and then, before the eyes of the police, a group lead by a cleric of the MOC, priest Goran, from a temple of the MOC in the suburb Dracevo, demolished the private property where the members of the Ohrid Archbishopric gathered to pray.
The police, as usually - sill have not discovered the perpetrators.
These, according to the words of the Metropolitan Nahum, “mere pedagogical measures and children’s games” which are undertaken by the “Macedonian State and Church” clearly indicate who are the individuals that convicted the Archbishop John to a two and a half years of prison in the central prison Idrizovo. Archbishop John is the only religious leader sentenced to prison in Europe, and this is only because he prayed on a private property and because he has a different opinion and faith from the sponsored-by-the-state MOC. While on his way to voluntarily enter the prison, which he declared on numerous occasions before the public, he was outrageously, as many said, kidnapped by the police and taken to the prison. At the entrance of the prison, being psychologically maltreated, his New Testament was thrown away and he was forbidden to take it to his prison cell.
Here we remark that the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric has nothing against the way the Macedonian Orthodox Church chooses to exist, but it protests against the terror systematically conducted - this time with their own confession - by the “Macedonian State and Church” against the citizens-members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric incomprehensible for the Europe of the 21st century.
The state refuses to register the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, expels its students from the faculty, hermetically closes the borders for orthodox clerics, citizens of the European Union, the police invades the private homes exerting pressure, the journalist use a discourse of hate - and this is only part of the “pedagogical measures or children’s games” which are noted by the “Helsinki Committee for Human rights” of the Republic of Macedonia, OSCE, Proxima and the Sector for Internal Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
However, the text of the Metropolitan Nahum is the most morbid thing stated yet. According to which criterion does the Metropolitan Nahum call the abovementioned terror a “mere pedagogical measure or a children’s game”? If this is so for him, could you imagine what he is prepared to do if the “Macedonian State and Church” decide to actually punish the citizens-members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, or anyone else with a different religious opinion than the ones of the MOC?! Is not this text in contradiction to the good neighborly relations, absolutely necessary for the integrative processes and is not this text an open summon to terror and lynch by a man who does not have the capacity to verbally solve the problem we are facing?! In the cunning replacement of the theses in his text he would probably conduct “pedagogical measures” as well towards the members of the other orthodox Churches that do not recognize the MOC, although these do not imprison, do not try, do not forbid the entrance to their countries to the members of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Many of our fellow citizens saw the text of the Metropolitan Nahum as a militant cry for resurrection of totalitarianism and, once again, turning our fatherland into a country of whisper! The positions stated in his text are out of fashion and support national-chauvinism and intolerance in a time of nurturing of the values of civilization such as cosmopolitism and mutual understanding. To us, this text is, according to the verses of T.S. Eliot, the “Horseman of the Apocalypse”!
This is why we ask the entire well-intentioned international public to ensure the safety of Archbishop John, for whom we testify before you, gives his blessings to those who curse him, to visit him in Idrizovo and to take care of the clerics, monks and members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
Receive this short depiction as an APPEAL from us, the people amazed by the inconsiderateness of the “Macedonian State and Church” towards their citizens, an APPEAL for protection of the lives of Archbishop John, the clerics, the monks and all the citizens-members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric from the “mild and mere pedagogical measures and children’s games” conspired by the Metropolitan Nahum. If something does happen, you know the perpetrator in advance.
Hoping that you will hear our pleas and that a better future awaits for us, we remain with respect and we heartily greet You.
For the citizens-members of the
Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric,
BA of Philology Igor Radev
BS of Electronic Engineering Gordana Lazarevska