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Through political trials and imprisonments of Archbishop kyr kyr Jovan and not registering the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, religious freedoms in Republic of Macedonia are broken unambiguously

Filed under: General — September 29, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

A New Number of the American Periodical “The Orthodox Word”

Recently (February 2006), during a visit of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric hieromonk Damascene (Christensen) from St. Herman of Alaska monastery, California, USA was staying in the Republic of Macedonia.

Among monastic activities, hieromonk Damascene is known to the public by his exclusively remarkable book about father Seraphim Rose, with its title “His Life and Works”. The book is translated in many languages, among which are: Russian, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian.

The St Herman of Alaska monastery prints the famous magazine “The Orthodox Word”, which presents the report by hieromonk Damascene on his visit of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, in its newest number.

Hieromonk Damascene writes about the beauties and wealth of the Macedonian cultural and historical heritage, beautiful Ohrid’s churches, but he also writes about being surprised by the fact that Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) sells tickets for entering those churches. He also describes his meeting with the clerics, monastics and the faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric and he emphasizes especially their interest about the lectures and slide-shows on the life of father Seraphim Rose and American monastics, which he presents during his meetings with them. His lectures in the Republic of Macedonia were a part of his lecture tour and promotions through Russia and some Balkan countries.

In continuation, we point some of his impressions which come out of the reality he faced in Republic of Macedonia and which refers to the treatment by the police and not respecting the religious freedom of some citizens by the state.

So, in the newest number of “The Orthodox Word” (No. 244, p.235), hieromonk Damascene describes his entering in Republic of Macedonia as it follows:

”Abbot David drove me from the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki to the Macedonian capital of Skopje on February 25, 2006. At the border crossing, the Macedonian police, seeing that I was an Orthodox priest from outside their country, ordered us to park our car and wait an unusually long time; they interrogated Abbot David and strongly advised him to only transfer me through Macedonia into Serbia. Although I was subsequently allowed to pass into Macedonia, this conduct by the police was indicative of the fear that the authorities of still harbor about foreign Orthodox clergymen entering their country, since they know that these clergymen will invariably be in communion with the Ohrid Archdiocese and not with the schismatic church in Macedonia”

Few pages further (p.247), despite the possible meetings with the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric sometimes, almost in basements, hieromonk Damascene writes:

“Recent communications from Archdiocese indicate that the national media in Macedonia has launched yet another hate campaign against it, and that threats continue to be made against the monastics and faithful. The state authorities have recently revoked Archbishop Jovan’s passport, and are still not at all inclined to allow the legal registration of the Archdiocese. The leaders of the schismatic church in Mаcedonia know that, if the Ohrid Archdiocese is given freedom, the most of the Orthodox Christians in Macedonia will join it in order to be in communion with the Orthodox Church. Therefore, they continue to put pressure on the courts to convict the Archbishop again. Recently one court convicted the Archbishop of “having the likely intention to misuse a donation” (which essentially amounts to a thought-crime), after the same court had on two other occasions acquitted him of this charge. Now he is threatened with a one-year prison sentence if the Supreme Court confirms this ruling.”


Citizens, who do not wish to be members of Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC), which is in doctrine and Eucharist disunity with the other orthodox churches, live in Republic of Macedonia. Citizens-members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric dispute neither its lawful legitimacy nor the benefits the state grants MOC, but they believe that by the imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan, not registering Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric and restriction of freedom of moving, the European Convention of Human Rights as well as the Constitution of Republic of Macedonia signed by the Republic of Macedonia are broken in terms of respecting the religious freedom of part of Macedonian citizens.

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