Archbishop Jovan (John) VI

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

A Letter by the Bishop Mark of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric to His Holiness, the Patrhiarch of Serbia Paul About the Second Imprisonment of the Archbishop John VI

Filed under: General — August 10, 2006 @ 10:16 pm

His Holiness
Archbishop of Pec
Metropolian of Belgrade – Karlovci
Serbian Patriarch
kyr kyr Pavle

Your Holiness,

We write this letter to You being deeply grief-stricken as well as the whole hierarchy, clergy and members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric are because of the repeatedly imprisonment of our Archbishop, His Beatitude kyr kyr Jovan (John). Namely, he was imprisoned for his second time several days ago, and few months ago he was released from his first imprisonment due to the great pressure of the local churches and the international community. It is renowned that he was confined by the authorities of the Republic of Macedonia many times before. The only guilt of his is that he had brought the Church of the Republic of Macedonia, which was in a condition of many years long schism, into a canonical condition, and thus it has become recognised by all the Orthodox Churches worldwide. The solution of the schism disturbs the authorities of the Republic of Macedonia, because they are the ones who had created it in the times of the communist rule (in 1967) for solely chauvinistic reasons, and they are also bothered by the way the solution of the schism is resolved. That is why they had glaringly interfered in the affairs of the Church and do not stop the terror until nowadays, mostly striking the Archbishop, but also the other Bishops, the clergymen and the faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

At first they had confined the Archbishop Jovan (John) for a few days, then they confined him for 30 days which he had served, and their only goal was to frighten him. Realizing that they failed to do so, they had convicted him to a 2.5 years imprisonment and he served 8 months of that punishment when the Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia acquitted hi under the great pressure of the international community. Now they have changed their tactics aiming to present him as if he was a criminal. They convicted him to one year imprisonment as if he was embezzling funds of the Church although he had previously been acquitted by the Court from those charges. Please find enclosed the Encyclical Epistle of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric for explanation on the rigged trial against the Archbishop.

His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr kyr Jovan (John) is once more unjustly convicted and imprisoned. He has proved to be strong in faith and acts so far, and there is no doubt that he would withstand this injustice either. He is aware that his suffering is a victory for the Church thus encouraging all of us to show ourselves worthy for the love of our Lord and Saviour.

However, Your Holiness, as much this letter is an appeal to do everything we can for the release of the unjustly imprisoned Archbishop Jovan (John); it is as much a call to do everything we can for the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric to be recognised by the authorities of the Republic of Macedonia. As long as the authorities refuses to recognise the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric as one of the religious communities in the Republic of Macedonia, thus violating all the international conventions dealing with freedom of religion our country has acceded, there is a possibility for yet bigger terror, not only against the Archbishop, but also against the other Bishops and members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. By not recognising the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the authorities of the Republic of Macedonia in fact leave space for legitimate terror against the members of the Church. That is why many of our members got frightened and the logic of their way of thinking is the following : “When they could exert such a powerful torture on the Archbishop Jovan (John) who has the support of all the Orthodox Churches and many international institutions dealing with human right, the more they could harm us, even without such transparency and publicity.

Your Holiness, therefore we ask of You and beg of You, do everything in Your power for the legalisation of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric in the Republic of Macedonia. This little country from the southwest Balkans today proves itself as a country that does not observe even the most fundamental human rights, and it seems as if the international community seems tolerates it.

Hoping that our Lord will grant Your prayers, we remain

Faithful to Your love in Christ,
† Mark, of Bregalnitza and Guardian of Bitola
Member of the Holy Archpriests’ Synod


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