Archbishop Jovan (John) VI

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

The Macedonian Authorities Summon to State Terror on Religious Grounds

Filed under: General — October 10, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

(reason: the statement for the media made by the Chairman of the Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities and Religious Groups)

Your Excellencies,

The European public is well acquainted with the persecution conducted by the Macedonian authorities over the citizens-members of our religious community, a persecution that resulted in the conviction of the Archbishop Jovan Vraniskovski and his imprisonment in the central Macedonian prison “Idrizovo”. With this act he became the only religious leader in contemporary Europe convicted because of his religious beliefs and for conducting a religious service on a private property. Still, although the Supreme Court, answering to the submitted complaint, declared that these freedoms are guaranteed with the Constitution of our country, as well as with the Universal Declaration and the European Convention for Human Rights, the Archbishop Jovan remains in prison.

The High Representative for Common Foreign Policy of the European Union Mr. Javier Solana said that “the case Vraniskovski is an obstacle in the relations between the European Union and the Republic of Macedonia” (A1 TV, 2 October 2005). Also, the representatives of relevan organizations stepped forward with the official position that “Republic of Macedonia is on its way of becoming tyranny”. As a supplement to this statement, the chairwoman of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Mrs. Mirjana Najcevska says: “The immeasurability of the obstinacy of the state is reflected in the fact that the state itself does not even respect the laws that it reaches” (A1 TV, 21 January 2005).

Highly Respected,

In anxiety for the lives of the citizens-members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, we express our deep concern regarding the measures of persecution that the Macedonian authorities keep undertaking, with which they demonstrate a sort of state terror incited by personal religious reasons.

The Chairman of the Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities and Religious Groups of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Cane Mojanoski gave the following statement for the media of our country: “The attempts to install a parallel hierarchy, that is a substitute for the MOC, are a reason for a full strategy of action of the church and the state. The forces should be united in mutual action. It is especially important to strengthen the activity in the places where so-called religious building are installed or where there are attempts to imitate religious rites” (”Dnevnik” 4 October 2005).

First of all we would like to emphasize that the respect for the freedom of choice of the religious affiliation is a trait of our religious community. As second, we would like to draw attention to the fact that the religious community MOC (Macedonian Orthodox Church) is in doctrinarian disagreement with the Patriarchate of Constantinopole and with the other orthodox Churches. Our religious community - Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is in doctrinarian concord with the Patriarchate of Constantinople and with the other local orthodox Churches. Therefore, we neither want to, nor can we be a substitute for, according to the Orthodox teaching, the uncanonical entity MOC.

Your Excellencies,

What worries us to pain is the militant tone which streams through the statement of the high representative of the Government Mr. Cane Mojanoski. We wonder: Which are the forces that should be united in mutual action? Against who? Aren’t we citizens and tax payers of this country? Is it possible that in the 21 century the secular state Republic of Macedonia is building a full strategy for mutual action of the state regime and the MOC? Is not Mr. Cane Mojanvski revealing with this statement that the state stands behind the imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan, behind the demolition of our churches, behind the trials against the monks, behind the attacks and the cutting of the hair of the nuns…?

Moreover, Mr. Cane Mojanoski offends our religious feelings with his statement in which he uses communist vocabulary that we “install” religious buildings and that we “imitate” religious rites, and at the same time, he summons to “strengthened activity” against us!

Although the Supreme Court declared that we are guaranteed the right to pray on a private property, this high representative of the Government with his public statements initiates intensified activities against our personal safety and against the safety of our private properties.

Mr. Cane Mojanoski uses his position to deny our request for registration for several years now, although all the representatives of the religious communities in the Republic of Macedonia, at the Conference entitled “Freedom of Religion and Conviction”, held on 14 September 2005 in Skopje, in the presence of representatives of OSCE, stated that: “The state should allow Jovan Vraniskovski to register his Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric because the law which does not allow registration of two church communities of the same religion is absurd”.

An finally, why should the state hold this dictatorial position towards its own citizens-members of the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric, recognized by all the local Orthodox Churches!

Highly Respected,

We look into the possibilities to raise a criminal charge against Mr. Cane Mojanoski for instigating religious hatred and intolerance. In support of the previously said we deem that his statement is the official position of the Macedonian Government to conduct state terror on religious basis. The statement is an open summon to lynch against the citizens-members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. We inform you that no one from the Government denied the statement of Mr. Cane Mojanoski, a former communist activist, nowadays chairman of the Government’s Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities and Religious Groups.

Your Excellencies,

Mr. Havier Solana, in his letters sent to the Bishop Mr. Jozef Homeyer and to the Archbishop of Athens Chrystodulou, regarding the imprisonment of the Archbishop Jovan, emphasizes that the religious freedoms are extremely highly valued in the European Union.

We inform you of the actual situation in this area in our fatherland, remaining with hope that the Euro-Atlantic value of the religious freedoms, within the frames of the integrative processes, will be implemented in the Republic of Macedonia as well.

With respect,

Congregation of citizens, members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, who send this letter through the Informative Service of their religious community.

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