His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, received His Excellency Stanimir Vukicevic, ambassador of Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina today on 27 December 2013 at the Serbian Patriarchate.
Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, for Christmas, sent an appeal to the authorities of R. Macedonia and to the international community, for releasing of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid4. January 2014 - 12:00
His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, in his most recent epistle for Christmas, which he delivered to the public on January 3, 2014, addressed the state persecution on religious basis that is performed against Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
In the epistle, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia sent an appeal to the authorities of R. Macedonia and to the international community:
“Honorous and blessed Christmas we wish to our imprisoned brother and concelebrant, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, and to the whole persecuted and suffering Orthodox Church in R. Macedonia. He is being unjustly held in prison by the authorities, and his believers are being denied the freedom of belief and conscience, only because they opted for the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The ethnophiletistic schism is the biggest tragedy of our Church in R. Macedonia. The schismatics, unfortunately, have submitted the unity of the Church to politics and ethnophiletism.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD
BISHOP OF THE METROPOLITANATE OF
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
GOD’S PEACE — CHRIST IS BORN!
Rejoice, heaven and earth,
as the prophets foretold!
Celebrate in the spirit, angels and people!
God is born of a woman and appears in the flesh...
(Troparion of the Nativity Litiya)
Our much beloved Clergy and Monastics, Sons and Daughters, Our dear Spiritual Children,
It is that 'the Word became flesh' and the Master took on the form of a slave.
He became the Son of Man, though He was the true Son of God, in order that He might make the sons of men children of God.
-St. John Chrysostom, Homily 10
We remember this Christmas, our dear faithful, the abovementioned words of St. John Chrysostom, which explain the birth of God from the Virgin Mary. It is always important, especially during these festal days, to have before our eyes an image of God, Who out of love towards us “lowered Himself to raise up man.” By the recalling to our consciousness of the great sacrifice of God, we can correctly understand our relationship with the All-loving Father, and especially the general joy of the Nativity, which is offered to us.