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Professor Yuri Maximov, during his visit to R. Macedonia, testifies: The Clergy and the faithful people of Russia pray for the release of Archbishop Jovan

Filed under: General — October 6, 2006 @ 9:28 am

I have an impression that the entire Orthodox youth in Macedonia has left the MOc.

I saw that the Ohrid Archbishopric does not present a peril to the Macedonian state.

Using the language of the world, MOc makes the best marketing propaganda for the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

Recently Professor Yuri Maximov from Moscow stayed for a few-day visit in R. Macedonia, in a visit to the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

As it was previously published on our Internet page, Mr. Yuri Maximov is a lecturer on the Moscow Spiritual Academy (on Religious Studies) and at the Orthodox University “Saint Tikhon’ (on Islamology). He is a participant of the Synodial group of the Patriarchate of Mosocow, which is responsible for preparing an official concept for the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church with the other religions.

He came to R. Macedonia so that he would get informed about the imprisonment of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr kyr Jovan, and learn about the conditions in which the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric operates.

In continuation we publish the positions stated by professor Yuri Maximov, during his stay in R. Macedonia, for the internet presentation of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

The previous Macedonian government, under the pressure of the schismatic bishops of the MOC, through politically manipulated court proceedings, incarcerated Archbishop Jovan in the prison “Idrizovo”. How do you, as an Orthodox Christian, look upon this behavior of the state towards Archbishop Jovan and the Church whose head he is?

I received the information of the re-imprisonment of His Beatitude, Archbishop Jovan with a great grief in the heart. No reasoning man can behave calmly in the face of such injustice. As many Orthodox Christians in Russia, I too, pray for the release of Archbishop Jovan. The persecutions managed by the MOc against the Ohrid Archbishopric are the biggest mistake the schismatics could have made. All know that the Apostles, as disciples of Christ, did not oppress anyone, but they themselves were oppressed. The Apostle Paul, who also suffered illicit arrests, had written “emulate me, just as I emulate Christ”. After the arrest of Archbishop Jovan, it is clear who in Macedonia emulates Apostle Paul and who is the true disciple of Christ, and who emulates His persecutors.

The devastating fruits of the schism are clear to all Orthodox Christians in the world, having in this, as an example, the un-Christian behavior of the hierarchs of the MOc. With the persecutions it started, MOc demonstrates its internal weakness, and testifies that the schismatics do not feel strong enough themselves to show conviction that they are right by using calm, Christian means, which is to say – they themselves are not convinced that they are right. Every wave of persecutions against the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is a blow on MOc itself. And, if they do not repent, they will answer for this at the Last Judgment, when neither the worldly authorities, nor the police will protect them before the face of the Truth.

On several occasions, on the Russian internet pages and in the Russian church magazines you have written about the contemporary persecutions conducted by the schismatics and the Macedonian authorities against Archbishop Jovan and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. You came to Macedonia so as to see in person and learn from close about the conditions. What are your impressions?

The reality surpassed all expectations. It needs to be said that most Orthodox Christians in Russia do not have a proper notion of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. I have been in situations where I have met people who had heard from the Macedonian media that the Ohrid Archbishopric is a virtual church, that its members are two-three people plus the relatives of Archbishop Jovan.

I knew that this was not the truth, but I was really surprised when I saw that here, the canonical Church, is full-blooded and mature Church, with many attendants, monasteries, publication activities. I have not witnessed such a number of active, devout, young adherents.

I have the impression that the entire Orthodox youth in Macedonia has left the MOC. This is a visible testimony for the future of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. There are no accidental people in your church, no nominal Christians. All who attend the Liturgy know why they are there. In the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric I saw a Church in conditions I have read of in the ancient works of the Holy Fathers to the Edict of Milan of Saint Constantine. A unique experience. During the entire time in Macedonia I cannot leave behind the feeling that the “Edict of Milan” is not far from the Ohrid Archbishopric. The persecutions are going to stop.

I myself have seen that the Ohrid Archbishopric is not any peril to the Macedonian state. To the contrary, many members of the canonical church, both priests and laypeople, are full of will to work for the good of the Macedonian people.

I hope that the government will realize this and will reach the right decisions.

Tell us in short about Orthodoxy in Russia today?

After the mercy of God and after the prayers of all Russian saints, Russia undergoes active rebirth of Orthodoxy. Temples are being opened, old monasteries are being restored, theology is being ascertained, great efforts are being made to enlighten the people and help those in need. The Russian Church is paying visits to the orphanages, hospitals, prisons, the army, is curing drug addicts, fulfilling the mission, obeying the commandments of Christ, our Savior. These activities are giving fruit – millions of people come to Church. Praise to God, we have elders and contemporary ascetics, miracles are happening. Certainly, in the course of these activities there are many difficulties. Some are a consequence of the terrible impact inflicted on Russia by the godless government, and still haven’t been surpassed. We still need many prayers, patience and efforts.

There are many various temptations and scandals, and unfortunately, people are not always strong enough to rise above them.

But, this is the reality of the spiritual life. The spiritual life is a battle. In every battle there are not only winners, but also there are the ones defeated. I witnessed that on account of the sufferings of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the Lord preserves it from the temptations faced by the believing people of other Orthodox Churches, including the Russian. I think that this mercy needs to be understood and appreciated. The persecutions may cease, yet, the temptations are never going to, they are just going to take another form, as we can see in Russia.

Thus, together with these, obviously according to the choice of those who have eyes and reason, the Russian Orthodox Church, is renewing amazingly, with evident aid from God.

How do you see the future of the relationship between the Orthodox of the Ohrid Archbishopric and the Patriarchate of Moscow?

Until recently, no one in Russia knew of the sufferings of the canonical Church in Macedonia. But now, the situation is being completely changed. Increasingly more Russians learn of it. This is mostly as a result of the actions of the MOc.

Using the language of the world, MOc makes the best marketing propaganda for the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

When they incarcerated Archbishop Jovan, all Russian Orthodox news agencies informed. In fact, this is how I found out about the Ohrid Archbishopric. Nowadays, more and more Russians learn about the orthodox confessors of the age we live in. I, myself, was a witness to the heartfelt cry both of the laymen and the clergy, who, during the liturgies, pray for the imprisoned Archbishop Jovan and all believing people in Macedonia. I am convinced that, with God’s help, the spiritual and brotherly relations of the Ohrid Archbishopric and Orthodox Russia will evolve and be confirmed in various directions, proclaiming the fullness of the communications of the churches within the frames of the Ecumenical Orthodoxy.

I would like to use this occasion to address all members of the MOc, who will read this interview:

Dear brothers and sisters, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is the only canonical Church in Macedonia. Only it represents the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church here.

If you believe in God, if you love Christ, if you want to reach the eternal life, promised to us in the Holy Gospel – do not fool yourselves, do not get confused, do not miss the chance to accede the true communion with God – which is given to you in the Ohrid Archbishopric. And if you do not accede, be ware that a time might come when you will regret for an eternity. Saints Clement and Nahum of Ohrid, just as all saints, who are nominally prayed to in the MOc, reside in the canonical Church – rush forth to join them!

source: www.poa-info.org

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