Response of the President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic to Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia
Thank you for greetings you have sent regarding my election for President of the Republic of Croatia, and the good wishes for the successful conduct of the responsible duties. I am familiar with the situation regarding the advertising of the president of the Croatian Orthodox community and his announcement of the establishment of the Croatian Orthodox Church. With an intention of the establishment and registration of the Croatian Orthodox Church as a religious community, this gentleman refers to the continuity with the Croatian Catholic Church based in June 1942, initiated by Ante Pavelic, during the time of the Independent State of Croatia. For references to the Ustasha regime and the negative connotations that Croatian Orthodox Church has carried since that period, provocative and unmeasured statements of the president of the Croatian Orthodox community can be understood as an invitation to intolerance and impatience towards other Orthodox religious communities in Croatia, and in the wider social environment.
Terms of registration of religious communities in Croatia are defined by the Law on the legal position of religious communities. The formulation of article 3 (paragraph 1) stresses that "religious communities in promoting religion and other forms of action must not disseminate intolerance, prejudices towards other religious communities and their believers and other citizens", which can be read from the statement of the president of the Croatian Orthodox Church, in which he aspires to take over the membership or believers of other Orthodox communities in Croatia. It is inappropriate speech in a country where, despite the sufferings of war, ecumenical spirit is not completely forgotten, and what clearly can be recognized from Your words.
I assure you that I will always promote respect for human rights and the laws that apply in our country, and so in this case that have justifiably upset You.
President of Croatia
Dr Ivo Josipovic
NOTE: Communiques of the competent Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia, as well as more information about the establishment of the so-called "Croatian Orthodox Church" can be viewed on these internet presentations:
Source: Diocese of Dalmatia