Free
Archbishop Jovan (John) VI

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

The World Council of Churches condemned the imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan and the violation of the religious freedom of the Orthodox believers in R. Macedonia

Filed under: General — November 14, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

The Tenth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) is taking place in Busan, South Korea, from 30 October to 8 November. Taking part in the assembly are 2.190 representatives of the topical Orthodox Churches, the Anglican and Protestant communities, as well as observers of the Roman-Catholic and other Churches that are not members of the WCC, who assembled to discuss the most important issues regarding the Christianity in the world.

The World Council of Churches has expressed deep concern over the issue of respecting the rights of the Orthodox believers R. Macedonia. During the General Assembly, the Council issued a public Statement about the politicization of religion and the rights of religious minorities, stating:

“The Government of R. Macedonia categorically denied the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric the right to register as a religious community. The government’s involvement in the legal system of the country resulted in the unlawful confinement of the head of this Church.”

The World Council of Churches urged the governments of all countries to strengthen the mechanisms that would ensure survival and protection of the rights of religious minorities. Furthermore, the states are encouraged to implement anti-discrimination laws in order to protect individuals and communities that are being persecuted for professing their faith.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: our beloved brother, Archbishop Jovan is persecuted solely because of his adherence to the canonical Church

Filed under: General — October 13, 2013 @ 6:37 pm


In his homily during the Divine Liturgy which he officiated during the celebration of 1700 years of the Edict of Milan, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew spoke of several burning issues for the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Bartholomew also indicated the persecution that is being performed against Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the canonical Church in FYR Macedonia! In his addressing, he stated:

“… furthermore, in our orthodox ecclesiastical milieu, various schisms, apostasies, and even heresies are appearing; thieves and robbers who do not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climb in by some other way (John 10, 2-3). Hierarchs are being persecuted, as for example His Beatitude and our beloved brother, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid; priests, monastics and faithful people are being persecuted because they respect the canonical order, they recognize their spiritual adherence to the canonical Churches and they do not enlist in the anti-canonical – supported by various state factors – seemingly ecclesiastical formations, and thus, as the blessed John the Chrysostom says, they are being persecuted “only because the bear Christ’s name”.

Every soberly-thinking man will understand that these words are loudly witnessing across the world, that the state apparatus of FYR Macedonia is not capable of practicing the Edict of Milan, hence it demonstrates that our homeland is brought back to the times before the Edict and not all citizens are equally allowed to enjoy religious freedoms!

Despite all this, may St Constantine the Great be a motivation and an example for every political leader!

It should not be forgotten that the Edict of Milan was signed by two Emperors who at the time of the signing were not Christians, but they knew what was the interest of the state: “may each one have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases; this regulation is made that we may not seem to detract from any dignity of any religion” (from the text of the Edict of Milan)!

No matter how hard they try to mislead and misinform the domestic public by spreading untruths about Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the reality is revealing them, hence certain political figures, schismatics and journalists in the Orthodox world are being recognized exactly as those who raise their hands against Christ himself!

Source: poa-info.org

The Assembly of Canonical Bishops of America urged the faithful to pray for the release of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid

Filed under: General — October 1, 2013 @ 10:13 am


The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (http://assemblyofbishops.org/about), held its fourth annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Forty-three Bishops representing eleven Church jurisdictions were present at the meeting. At the end of the meeting, an official announcement was published.

During the Assembly, the Bishops devoted time also to the state persecution on religious basis, which is performed upon Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the canonical Church in R. Macedonia, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. In the mentioned announcement, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America states:

“We have also been apprised and are deeply concerned about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as a result of exercising his fundamental human right of religious freedom. We urge our faithful to stand in prayer and solidarity for a prompt and positive resolution to this issue.”

Source: http://assemblyofbishops.org/about/documents/2013-message-of-the-assembly-of-bishops

Stojan Andov: Archbishop Jovan is a political prisoner

Filed under: General — September 22, 2013 @ 7:08 am

The first President of the pluralistic Assembly of FYR Macedonia, Mr Stojan Andov is one more renowned FYR Macedonian politician who indicates to the domestic public that Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid is a political prisoner!

In his article for the weekly magazine “Fokus” (issue 935, 06.09.2013), Mr Stojan Andov stresses that serious warnings are being sent by the international community in regard to the political prisoners in FYR Macedonia, amongst which Mr Stojan Andov is highlighting the name of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid.

It is not the first time that some distinguished FYR Macedonian politician, as is Mr Stojan Andov, who was on three terms the President of the Assembly of FYR Macedonia, publicizes that Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid is a political prisoner.

The former Prime minister of FYR Macedonia, Mr Ljubco Georgievski, in an interview also underlined that for him it was an undisputable fact that Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid was a political prisoner (“Fokus”, issue 891/892, 27.07.2012) and that the church issues in FYR Macedonia should not be solved by persecutions and imprisonments of Bishops, monastics and faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric (A1on, 30.05.2012).

In the last 11 years, the proverbial Macedonian judiciary has for the seventh (7) time placed Archbishop Jovan behind bars! He is today in the Idrizovo prison, with visibly deteriorated health!

In the passed years, in FYR Macedonia the respecting of the religious freedoms is being seriously violated, and the government is continuing to protect the monopoly of one church, on the account of the others, which distances it from the standards of the advanced democracies.

Absence of state persecution on religious basis and full respect of the religious freedoms of all citizens equally – that is the required condition for FYR Macedonia to join the societies with high civilizational achievements!

Source: spc.rs

First visit to Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, in the Idrizovo prison

Filed under: General — August 30, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

On December 12, 2011, His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje was imprisoned in the Idrizovo prison, near Skopje.

After one year and almost nine months in a prison cell, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid was for the first time given the opportunity for a one-time visit of his brothers Bishops of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, in the visiting area of the Idrizovo prison.

On August 23, 2013, Their Graces, Bishop Joakim of Polog and Kumanovo and Administrator of Debar and Kicevo, Bishop Marko of Bregalnica and Administrator of Bitola and Bishop David of Stobi and Administrator of Strumica, visited His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, and had brief conversation with him, conveying to him the love, but also the plead of the faithful people, for his blessing and prayers.

Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid ensured the Bishops that he was feeling slightly better with his health, and he sends to all members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric his archpastoral blessing, encouraging them to keep their joy always, in the various life circumstances.

Source: poa-info.org

The Economist: A bishop behind bars - Theology in Handcuffs

Filed under: General — July 28, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

IN A recent posting, I noted that the European Union had put forward some detailed ideas about how religious freedom should be fostered outside its borders; and also that it still gave its own 28 members lots of leeway in handling church-state relations. That is not just a hypothetical point. Countries that aspire to join the EU find their governance, legal systems and performance on human rights (including religious freedom) scrutinised closely; once they squeeze through the gates, the pressure slackens.

As it happens, there is one would-be EU member whose recent record on religious freedom may fall short of the standard which the Union, albeit a tad hypocritically, expects from its aspiring neighbours. If the country were already inside the door, it might get off more lightly. But that doesn’t make things any better. The country in question is Macedonia, where an internationally recognised Christian bishop has been locked up on charges which many human-rights campaigners regard as trumped-up. The World Council of Churches says he is the victim of persecution; the Conference of European Churches has called for his release; Amnesty International once called him a prisoner of conscience.

Who is he? On July 2nd, Archbishop Jovan Vraniskovski of Ohrid (to use the title he uses, and most of the Christian world recognises) was given a three-year jail term for “embezzlement”; given that his current stay in jail (the latest in a series) has already lasted 18 months, he seems set to remained incarcerated until the end of next year. To explain his bizarre story, it helps to go back to the 1960s, when relations between communist Yugoslavia’s republics were volatile and mostly conducted by party apparatchiks behind closed doors. Those apparatchiks controlled virtually everything that happened in the country, including the limited religious life which the communist system tolerated. As a way of cutting Serbia down to size, the party bosses agreed in 1967 that it would be a good idea if the republic of Macedonia had its own Orthodox church, instead of being part of the Serbian one. (more…)

The Conference of European Churches urges Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski for immediate release of Archbishop Jovan!

Filed under: General — July 13, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

The Assembly of CEC has learned with great concern about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan in R. Macedonia. It is believed that his detention is a result of him exercising his human right of religious freedom. Reaffirming that freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the European Convention on Human Rights to which R. Macedonia is a party.

The CEC Assembly affirms the call by the World Council of Churches on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to carefully investigate this case.

The CEC Assembly calls on the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the EU Special Representative on Human Rights to urgently look into this case. In particular, the CEC Assembly requests that the institutions see whether the detention conditions are in line with standards as set out by the Council of Europe.

We urge the government of R. Macedonia and H.E. Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of R. Macedonia, to assure a fair trial and immediately release of Archbishop Jovan, pending his trial, in accordance with R. Macedonia’s national criminal law provisions.

We request the member churches of CEC to join in prayer and solidarity with Archbishop Jovan by sending letters of protest to the responsible authorities.

Source: http://blogg.svenskakyrkan.se/cecfuturewall/2013/07/08/churches-should-support-the-marginalised/

FYRMacedonia Sentences Orthodox Archbishop To 3 Years Jail

Filed under: General — July 11, 2013 @ 11:37 am


SKOPJE/BELGRADE/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– A FYR Macedonian court sentenced the archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Macedonia to three years in prison on what his denomination and activists called Wednesday, July 3, “false charges” of money laundering, while fourteen co-defendants received suspended jail terms.

Additionally Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, also known as Zoran Vraniskovski, must handover SOC properties, including church buildings, to the state for allegedly laundering some 250,000 euro ($325,000), his church said. Bishop Marko of Bregalnica, whose civilian name is Goran Kimev, Bishop David Ninov of Stobi as well as fourteen “priest-monks, abbesses, nuns and other faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric” each received two years suspended sentences for financial wrongdoing, the SOC added.

Among those sentenced are also Archbishop Jovan’s mother and sister, trial observers said. “The court told them that if they repeat the same deed in the next five years they will be facing two years of imprisonment each,” the SOC complained in a statement to BosNewsLife.

Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Ivica Stefanovski of the First Municipal Court of Skopje, FYR Macedonia, is “the seventh imprisonment sentence for Archbishop Jovan, who is a political prisoner in Macedonia already for a long period of time,” the SOC said.

The independent Centar 9, or Center 9 in English, a Belgrade-based Balkan rights group, said the 47-year-old church leader suffered years of persecution. “Once he was in prison because he has baptized a child and another time time because of having a prayer service in a private home,” explained the group’s General Secretary Drasko Djenovic in an interview.

DECADE OF “PERSECUTION”

“All persecution was in the last 10 years - since 2003,” he told BosNewsLife.
(more…)

The Council of Bishops of the Serbian Church calls to free Archbishop Jovan VI of Ohrid

Filed under: General — May 29, 2013 @ 8:17 am

Belgrad, May 22, 2013

On the first day of its work, the council of Bishops of the Serbian Church has addressed all democratic institutions of Serbia and the whole world, calling upon them to help release Archbishop Jovan (Vraniskovski) of Ohrid, who is still detained in the Macedonian prison in Skopje.

Bishop Irenej of Backa who had spoken with the media representatives on behalf of the council, has expressed his hope that other Churches and religious organizations would give prayer and moral support to the imprisoned hierarch—the head of the canonical autonomous Archdiocese of Ohrid.

According to Bishop Irenej, the imprisoned hierarch is kept “in inhuman conditions”, lacks necessary medical aid and his health has greatly deteriorated.

Source: Pravoslavie.ru

US State Department International Religious Freedom Report for FYROMacedonia for 2012

Filed under: General — May 25, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

The US State Department published its regular International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, for FYROMacedonia.

The US State Department in its latest report, among other issues, points out that members of other religious groups asserted that the government favored the MOC by granting it public properties free of charge, providing funding for the construction of new churches and moreover, they are accusing the ruling coalition’s dominant ethnic Macedonian party of politicizing religious issues for its own political gain by appealing to the religious beliefs and identity of the country’s majority and by using the MOC as a tool to that end.

In the US State Department Report due attention has been paid to the persecution of the canonical Orthodox Church in R. Macedonia, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. The report underlines that the members of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid, recognized by the Serbian Orthodox Church as the sole legitimate autonomous Orthodox Church in FYROMacedonia (and that means that all topical orthodox churches consider the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric a part of the Catholic Orthodox Church), alleged that the government subjected them to media harassment and undue monitoring due to their religious beliefs.

The report also notes the latest politically motivated court persecution, which has been expanded to several Bishops, monastics and faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, indicating that – in May 2012 the Ministry of Justice accused several members of its members of “money laundering”, after which the authorities transferred Archbishop Jovan to the detention prison of Suto Orizari. The report states that the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric claimed that the prison conditions were unacceptable. The same claim has been made also by the US State Department in its latest Human Rights Report for FYROMacedonia (http://poa-info.org/news/2013/04/20130422.html).

Finally, the US State Department concludes that the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid did not recognize the MOC’s self-declared autocephaly.

We remind that more than forty years, not a single other topical orthodox church has recognized the self-declared, from the time of the communism (1967), autocephaly of the MOC, hence in the Orthodox World, MOC is considered a schismatic religious organization!

The complete report is found on the following link: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?year=2012&dlid=208340

Source: US State Department via poa-info.org

Freedom House: FYROMacedonia continues the decline

Filed under: General — May 19, 2013 @ 6:17 pm


In the latest Freedom House report on the freedom of the press, FYROMacedonia, after last year’s drastic fall of 19 places, continues the decline and now marks a fall of additional 5 places in the rankings, which sets it even further away from all other countries in the region, including Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia, with whom it shared the same place until recently, but now is found 24 places below them.

In its reports, as most acute problems Freedom House names, in the following order: the corruption of the judiciary, the lack of freedom of the media and having no religious freedoms.

In the part about the religious freedoms, in all its reports, without exceptions, there is a mention of the problem of, as it is said, the breakaway Macedonian Orthodox Church with the canonically recognized Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

Like in the other reports of the international community about the situation of the freedoms and human rights in FYROMacedonia, it is characteristic that the Constitution and the laws ensure the freedoms, but that is not being respected in practice. All this is undoubtedly indicating the religious persecution of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric which is performed exactly through the violation of the guaranteed rights and freedoms of the citizens members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

Source: Freedom House via poa-info.org

The court process postponed again! The health state of Archbishop Jovan deteriorated!

Filed under: General — May 3, 2013 @ 11:30 am

On April 26 the current year, the politically motivated court hearing against Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, the rest of the Bishops, monastics and faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, was once again postponed! The last court hearing of this process was held on December 11, last year, and since then, five months in a row, the court hearings are being postponed, with the purpose of imposing pressure upon Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric!

At the event of the appearance before the court yesterday, it was determined that the health state of Archbishop Jovan has been seriously deteriorated and that one month ago a specialist doctor has issued his findings that Archbishop Jovan should undergo surgery. It was concluded that the opinion of the specialist doctor had been approved by the court, but the investigative prison where Archbishop Jovan is being held in detention, locked in a cell for 23 hours per day, for one whole month is not provided him with the basic health protection!

Obviously, the ultimate goal of the pressures that the unrecognized so-called “Macedonian Orthodox Church” (MOC) and its schismatic archbishop are imposing, is the final destruction of Archbishop Jovan and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. The pressures consist of the following: the unrecognized, state-sponsored MOC and its schismatic archbishop are the sole reason for all accusations, rigged court processes and imprisonments of Archbishop Jovan in the last ten years, and recently their demands are expanding to include the whole of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric! In the meantime, the government is facing international reports on the violation of the basic human freedoms in FYROMacedonia, expressed exactly through the selective police and judiciary persecution!

Source: poa-info.org

Romfea.gr: 16 months in prison

Filed under: General — May 1, 2013 @ 1:26 am

Today, 16 months have passed since His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje is being held in the prisons of FYROMacedonia.

And since we are not doing anything for this most worthy martyr Hierarch, who is praying while he is in chains for all of us, and even for those who are crucifying him, we are sending him this drawing that we found on the Internet, which represents a teardrop among the prison’s barbed wires, drawn by a young prisoner in the Greek prisons of Avlona.

Source: romfea.gr