Archbishop Jovan (John) VI

Stop the terror, persecution
and discrimination on religious grounds
conducted by the Government of FYROMacedonia!

Statement of the Archbishop Jovan given at the main hearing of the third trial

Filed under: General — August 9, 2006 @ 1:40 am

of the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr kyr John (Jovan) on the court trial No. 359/02 against him for penal offence embezzlement referred to 239 paragraph 4 in conjunction with Article 23 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code at the Court of First Instance in Veles

I have no illusion that a man have oppose a political pursuit organised by the state using only own strength ever. If I did not deemed and if I was not convinced that this is a Work of God, I would never agree to struggle such a political typhoon for anything, considering that it was known in advance that I will lose the present. It does not mean that I would lose the future and history indeed, however, if one fights the authorities, even those are uncertain.

And all these in the context of the political environment of my trials which will obviously be engaged until my conviction. Today’s court hearing being consequence of two times returned acquitting verdict of the first instance court is a proof for it. In spite of clear and understandable facts proponed in the rationales of the acquitting verdicts of the Court of First Instance in Veles, the Court of Appeals in Skopje, tending to extend the process or to try me until a convicting verdict is reached, has returned the case for a retrial for two times now.

Your Honour, I have chosen a thorny path by my free will, so let me sip what I have crumbled. But why with such rigged trials intended at my conviction at any price, as a result of which other people would also suffer? Does Madam Prosecutor ask herself how the parents of Toni Petrusevski or his wife feel, not to mention how dos he himself feel, neither my parents, nor my sister and other relatives who are watching us put on a cross permanently for years now, being conscious that we would not take even a penny that belongs to somebody else, not to speak of EUR 57,000? It is a stress for many families, many people, and all that upon order of the authorities.

1. Verdict rejecting the indictment was enacted on 16th of June, 2003 after the first trial in regard to this penal offence, on grounds that the aggrieved party, the Macedonian Orthodox Church had cancelled the motion for criminal prosecution. Namely, Zoran Grozdanov who had represented the MOC during the investigation and then he cancelled the motion for criminal offence at the main hearing. A forgery had been made for the purpose to save the indictment. Some Decision NO. 151 signed by Archbishop Stephen and stating that Zoran Grozdanov was not authorised to come out regarding the motion for the motion for criminal prosecution has been inserted. ‘It is indisputable that this communication is not among the acts of the file on the case with the Court, and the First Instance Public Prosecutor’s Office has obtained it after main hearing ended, i.e., after drawing up of the verdict’, says the Deputy First Instance Public Prosecutor in the appeal to the verdict. The proof that this is a political trial is the Ruling of the Court of Appeals accepting the appeal of the Prosecutor taking the fact that the first instance court had taken into consideration the aforesaid Decision of Stephen as decisive . The proof that this is a political trial is the Ruling of the Court of Appeals accepting the appeal of the Prosecutor taking the fact that the first instance court had taken into consideration the aforesaid Decision of Stephen as decisive . And how can the Court take it into consideration when nobody has enclosed it as evidence?

Your Honour, Madam Prosecutor probably had not that decision at hand on 15th of July, 2003 when she was drawing up the appeal to the Court of Appeals as well. The fact that the Public Prosecutor mentions the Decision of Stephen as it bears No. 151 in the appeal, and the Court of Appeals has not mentioned it under the existing number 248 until the Ruling of the Court of Appeals. The original has not been presented yet to us in spite we demanded it for several times now.

If such a decision existed with the investigative judge, is it possible that he has hidden it? That is impossible. However, if such a decision existed, and the Deputy Public Prosecutor would have known about it, for during the reading of evidence on the hearing held on 6th of June 2003, when he saw that it was missing, why did not he enclosed it or mentioned the missing of that evidence? Why there are not any evidence in the acts regarding the type of mail used for delivery of the disputable Decision to the Court? Maybe it was delivered by a carrier pigeon?

Be careful, the Court of Appeals in Skopje has established that there was no receipt seal on the envelope or on the very answer of Stopanska Bank dated on 8th of July, 2004 in the Ruling P.A. No. 652/05 dated on 24th of May, 2005 by virtue of which the case was returned for a retrial. However, the Court of Appeals in Skopje failed to establish in the Ruling P. A. No. 286/04 by virtue of which also returns the case to a retrial,, that the disputable Decision was not among the acts of the case at all until the pronouncing of the verdict but as well that there was no evidence regarding way it had been delivered to the Court.

The answer could be only one : When it become obvious that the indictment had fallen only due to lack of motion for criminal prosecution, this act, bearing No. 151 according to the Public Prosecutor, and 248 according to the Court of Appeals, signed by Stephen, was put among the acts of the case. A shame and a disgrace for all the judiciary. This is enough for a conclusion that there is a tendency for my conviction at any price, even illegally. It is very sad that the Court of Appeals in Skopje participates in this, but did not another Court of Appeals, the one in Bitola, confirmed another verdict being evaluated as illicit at least for a part of it by the Supreme Court, finding strength for it because of the great pressure of the international institutions. I wonder what would happened if there was not such pressure by the international institutions?

In this case, Zoran Grozdanov is the least guilty and one should not wash hands with him, imputing him that he has done something obstinently without being authorised for it. If that is the case, the Prosecutor should have instituted and indictment for the penal offence ‘autocracy’ against him in line of duty so far. Nevertheless, Zoran Grozdanov was a Secretary of the Vardar Valley Diocese, authorised to represent it. The Court has established it correctly. Not only that he had authorisations to represent the Diocese, but Zoran Grozdanov had authorisation to give power of attorney to another persons for the purpose of representing the Diocese. It is obvious out of the fact that on 12th of December 2002, even a month later than the Decision of Stephen dated on 5th of November, 2002 depriving Zoran Grozdanov from the authorisation to represent the Vardar Valley Diocese, he had given a power of attorney to the lawyer Ane Vasilev for the purpose to represent the Diocese in case P.I. No. 79/02, i.e., in this case during the investigation thereof.

Therefore, if such a decision dated in November 2002 really existed, would Zoran Grozdanov dare not to respect it?

On the main hearing, on 22nd of June 2004, his superior Archpriest Mr. Slave Jovanovski – Timothy, asked by the defence counsellor Mr. Ivan Dimanov whether the Secretary of the Vardar Valley Diocese or the Secretary of any diocese can represent thereof before the courts of law regarding any case without previously issued power of attorney because a mere fact that holds the position of Secretary, said : ‘Of course that a Secretary can completely represent a diocese before the courts of law in case that he has no different authorisations or prohibitions given by the Bishop or the Archbishop, and in this particular case there was a motion for criminal prosecution by the MOC and he was not allowed to give different statements before the Court’.

It is indisputable that Zoran Grozdanov was authorised to represent the Diocese during the investigation as well as during the main hearing on 16th of June, 2003. His power of attorney became disputable when he had given a statement that Public Prosecutor did not like. Moreover : according to the disputable Decision of Stephen dated on 5th of November 2002, the Vardar Valley Diocese should have been represented by Timothy. Notwithstanding that, giving power of attorney to Mr. Ane Vasilev on 12th of December, 2002 and then presenting himself on the main hearing on 16th of June, 2003 in capacity of attorney of the Vardar Valley Diocese, it may be concluded that Zoran is the one who represent it, and not Timothy, due to a sole and clear reason that the Decision of Stephen dated on 5th of November, 2002 in fact did not exist.

I have chosen my cross and the weight thereof myself. I hope to carry it to the end with dignity, but why is it necessary to set up a case with such mean methods? If the authorities need that I would be in prison for a long time, let them say how long, and believe me, I would serve it singing, for I know that the path of Christ, the path of the Apostles and the path of the martyrs, confessors and all the ones who would like to have a Christian conscious is such. But to rig a trial when there is no case, to plant forged documents with the blessing of the Court of Appeals is so vicious that leave us speechless.

The Court should not remain disinterested for the fact that besides the aforesaid Decision is planted additionally and did not exist in the act of the case before, and it is not legitimate by itself according to the contents thereof. Nevertheless, this is no wonder for that decision was to correct some mistake. However, wrong way was chosen, so two mistakes had been made instead of one.

Zoran Grozdanov can be authorised to represent the Vardar Valley Diocese or his authorisation could be cancelled only by the jurisdictional Metropolitan, in this case by the Administrator Mr. Timothy. The Church is divided according to dioceses and according to the Constitution of the MOC, every diocese has a jurisdictional Archpriest or and Archpriest who administer it. According to the Constitution of the MOC giving orders and authorisations to the subordinate clergymen or officials belongs to the duties of an Archpriest. Moreover, not only that the Constitution of the MOC provides for it, but every Bishop and Archpriest make vow at his tonsure that he will not interfere in the internal affairs of another Diocese and that he will not ordain clergymen from another Diocese and will not issue any orders to them.

Therefore Zoran Grozdanov was appointed to be the Secretary of the Vardar Valley Diocese by Timothy and not by Stephen. The only one who had the right to sign a decision that Zoran Grozdanov is appointed to the position of the Secretary of the Veles Metropolis was Timothy, not Peter, not Gorazd, not anyone else.

It is analogue as for the state, although there is more centralism in regard to the state than as for the Church. I do not believe that the Public Prosecutor of Bitola may give order to the Deputy Public Prosecutor of Veles. Or as regards the situation with the school principals for example. Minister of Education shall not appoint school principals, because they are under the authority of Mayors. It is very similar, but not the same, for there is much more decentralisation in the Church.

The Archbishop Stephen has no authorisations neither by virtue of the Constitution of the MOC nor by virtue of the Church Canons in case he observe them, to give orders to any clergyman who is not in his diocese, i.e., in Skopje.

Notwithstanding that, since it was seen that the case was over, and aiming the opposite, somebody got the idea, and I have the right to have suspicions who is it, that the case will be saved with depriving Zoran Grozdanov of his authorisations . The proponer of the Ruling, obviously not knowing how the Church functions, deems that such a decision signed by the highest Church rank would save them from the hopeless situation.

It was done, the Decision No. 151 according to the Public Prosecutor and No. 248 according to the Court of Appeals was written, signed by Stephen as the Chairman of the Holy Archpriests Synod and put among the acts in whatsoever way unknown to me, but the time will reveal that, too and they thought it was enough for everybody who do not understand the matter. I believe that they had forgotten, but they surely had hope that there would not be detailed analyses of it, thus was done something contrary to the Constitution of the MOC.

The Court has the Decision by virtue of which Zoran Grozdanov was appointed to be the Secretary and it was signed by the Administrator appointed by the Archpriests’ Synod of the MOC, and that is Timothy. That is so because Timothy was the only one authorised to run the administration of the Vardar Valley Diocese, and not Stephen or anyone else.

All the aforesaid must not be insignificant for the Court.

2. Another very important factor for the process of the trial is establishment who is the aggrieved party in this case. During the first as well as during the second trial with regard to this case, the attempt of the Public Prosecutor to present the Vardar Valley Diocese as the sole aggrieved party was accepted somewhat tacitly. The sole aggrieved party in this case, if there is such party at all, can be only Mr. Trifun Kostovski. Moneys he had donated has never reached the MOC. It has never disposed of them. It is the same as sending someone a gift by mail. On the way to the recipient, that gift will be lost or somebody will steal it. whatever, who can sue the post office, the sender who has evidence when and to whom he had send something or the recipient who has never received anything.

Or to be more specific, what if Zoran Grozdanov, whose authorisations were not disputed at leas until the investigative proceedings, had given an order to Toni to hand him the moneys from Mr. Trifun Kostovski?

Firstly, on which grounds is Toni obliged to draw the moneys from his account upon order of Zoran or any other from the MOC and to hand the money to them.

Let us not forget that the Court has the Decision by virtue of which the employment of Toni was terminated.

The Public Prosecutor is not due to answer me, but I am due to ask the question : How they imagine to hand the moneys to anyone, even to the MOC, if Toni has not drawn them from his account previously. Therefore, the very drawing from the account may not be penal offence. What was the idea of Toni or of mine with regard to drawing of the moneys can hardly be proven by anyone. If someone enters a goldsmith’s shop, try some ring and saying to yourself how nice it would be to have it, does it mean that s/he has stolen it? Moreover, what would happen after Toni would give the moneys to Zoran Grozdanov and then called Mr. Trifun Kostovski to claim his moneys. He could accuse him for embezzlement. But he would done it rightfully, because his money ended differently than intended. Toni could be pronounced as accomplice with Zoran and somewhat Toni would get the worst of it.

3. Both I and Toni witnessed that the moneys were drawn aiming to be spent for the purpose intended. Even the donor Mr. Trifun Kostovski had no suspicions about that. The Public Prosecutor can have suspicions that we would spent the moneys for another purpose, however we have not spent them for another purpose. And we had the opportunity for it. The amount is not small.

And when speaking of suspicions, why am I not allowed to suspect that Zoran Grozdanov would leave for Columbia after taking the moneys from Toni.

I have no other methods to prove my intentions regarding the moneys, except those methods with which I had tried it during the previous trial. One has to be capable to enter somebody’s heart to get to know for sure what s/he intended.

It is impossible.

But there are no other methods for anyone to prove that I had intention to use the moneys differently than the one being the purpose for that. I had enough time to carry out any other intention in case I had it. Let me repeat that the matter is about big amount of money.

Secondly and very important : What were the intentions of Toni which motivated him to be my accomplice in a penal offence. If my conscious was corrupted and I wanted to use the moneys for something else, then how had Toni agreed to commit penal offence for me ?

Or a corrupted mind will think that we had the intention to divide the moneys among ourselves? In such case, I would have persuaded him to do it, or he would have persuaded me to do it. If I had persuaded him, he might not agreed and that we would not been in such situation. If he had persuaded me, he could do it without me and instead to share the moneys with me, he could take them for himself. Even if I had persuaded him, he might refuse to share them with me and do the job alone.

Nevertheless, the fact that the moneys were deposed with the Court the very next working day after I had returned from a trip is the strongest testimony in regard to the intention.

The coincidence of the statements of Toni, of Mr. Trifun Kostovski and of mine is the strongest evidence as regards the intention. There was no other intention related to the moneys except the one of the donor’s.

Let me ask the opposite question.

Which is the proof of the Public Prosecutor’s Office as for the intention for spending the moneys?

The only evidence which the Public Prosecutor wants to impose is the Decision for my release of duties of the position of Vardar Valley Metropolitan and for Toni’s release of duties. However, does the Public Prosecutor, and I believe that the Court knows it, how many people who have never been Bishops, priests or who have never been employed by the MOC, build churches and monasteries. And yet they are property of the MOC. Do you think that Sande from Izvor or his successor now had license to collect donations for the monastery in Izvor and to arrange construction works there?

Other Archpriests before me had tried them to collect moneys from practising sorcery and to perform construction works on MOC’s property illicitly, but they would torn them apart as they would done it to me. I assert you that the Church has neither control over local Church boards not only in the villages of the Veles Metropolis, but also in all the other dioceses of the MOC, nor over donations and construction works, especially if they are connected with some sorcerer. I tell you all these aiming to explain the Court how much the statement of the Public Prosecutor that Toni and I become suspects immediately only because we were released from the duties of the positions we held with the MOC, and that we would spent the moneys for purpose other than the one intended. The Court must not forget that in that time I had the same rank of a Bishop with the MOC and I was not stripped of that rank. There is a Decision that I was officially assigned to stay at the monastery near Negotino. It means that they did not treat me as someone out of the MOC.

I do not know whether this would mean something through the Public Prosecutor, but I feel obliged to answer the challenge imposed to me with stating of the problem of direct or possible premeditation. Because I consider myself to be some clergyman of whatever kind, at least by determination and disposition, I think I know will that psychological problematics. We call it ‘differentiation of spirits’ when using Church terminology. In other words, not every good thought being proposed to someone is good in its essence. They say that even the path to hell is tiled with best intentions. It means that one has to be very experienced in order to know whether own good thought is truly good. For example, it is not clear for the spiritually inexperienced why an apparently good thought such as : ’to look good or to know much’, can be sinful if it has been induced or united with the thought : ‘for the purpose that everybody envies me’.

So, one has to be spiritual for the purpose to know whether her/his own thoughts are really good, and it is very hard. And one has to be clairvoyant for the purpose to know the thoughts of others. Maybe the Public Prosecutor wants to say that she is a clairvoyant?

If the Public Prosecutor insists that we would be punished for the possible damages which would occur as a result of the possible thought we might have, we really have no other evidence.

May God help us in such case.

I stick to the statement given during the investigation and on the main hearing with regards to everything else.

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