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Archbishop Jovan (John) VI

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U.S Department of State with a report on the situation with the religious freedom in the Republic of Macedonia

Filed under: General — March 15, 2007 @ 4:39 am

The Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor published the annual report on the situation with the respect of religious freedom in the Republic of Macedonia in the course of 2006.

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71394.htm

There is an impression that the greater art of the report has been dedicated to the denial of religious freedom to the citizens, members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

R. Macedonia has religious prisoners.

The report deals with the imprisonment of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, k. k. Jovan implying that with the decision of the Supreme Court from February 2006, his prison sentence was reduced “which led to his release from prison, after which there were no cases of religious or political prisoners in the country”. We remind you that the Archbishop k. k. Jovan, after two releasing verdicts, has once again been put in prison, and the Macedonian Orthodox Church has once again filed a complaint against the liberating verdict reached regarding a third charge raised against him. The indicated proverbial corruption of the Macedonian judiciary is not subject to comment in this observation .

Police terror on religious freedom: the Macedonian Police demolishes a monastery, OSCE prevented from obtaining a copy of the decision based on which this demolition was carried out. Police conducts Bolshevist interrogations in Veles, Prilep…

Police coercion and denial of religious freedom may be noticed in the following quotation: “In October 2004 policemen demolished a small monastery that was being built by members of the “Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid” in Nizepole, near Bitola. The organization’s lawyer conceded that the monastery was being constructed without a permit but noted that other buildings in the area, also built without permits, were not destroyed. At the end of the period covered by this report, the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) was unable to obtain a copy of the decision by the competent ministry authorizing the monastery’s destruction.”

In this Report it is also said that the current law on registration of the religious communities “places some limits on religious practice by restricting the registration of religious groups…The law requires that religious groups be registered to perform a number of activities… The law prohibits the registration of more than one group for each religious confession… Restrictions contained in the Law on Religious Communities and Religious Groups continued to be applied to a group known as the “Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid,” which denies the Macedonian Orthodox Church’s self-declared autocephaly (ecclesiastical independence, which is not recognized by other Orthodox churches.”

“A priest with the “Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid” reported that he was beaten because of his beliefs and that his home, where he performed liturgies, was vandalized in July 2005. Members of the group alleged that, following this incident, police officers discouraged them from reporting future acts of violence or vandalism.

A secondary school teacher in Veles, associated with the group, reported that police questioned her students about her teaching, and asked whether she was spreading church propaganda.

“Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid” representatives also alleged that in January 2005 at least two of their followers were summoned to the police station in Prilep and were questioned about their support for the group.”


R. Macedonia violates the freedom of movement.

The Report also identifies violation of the freedom of movement of foreign citizens who have been prevented from praying together with the citizens, members of the rthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. Instances have been confirmed in practice when citizens of the European Union and of the United States of America were prevented from entering, even from transiting through R. Macedonia only because they were wearing priest’s garments and did not have a permit issued by the State Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities .

The report concludes with the assertion that the Ambassador and other Embassy officials discussed the issue with the President, Prime Minister, Macedonian Orthodox Church Officials, and representatives of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
On each occasion, the Embassy urged respect for religious freedom and the rule of law, as well as moderation in language on both sides.

sources:

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