Statement by the Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations and the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
On February 2, 2015, in compliance with the ruling of the Skopje Court, Archbishop Jovan (Vraniskovsky) of Ohrid, a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, was released from the Idrizovo prison.
The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2014
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. ”
(I Tim. 3:16)
We are celebrating once again in this year of the Lord, brothers and sisters, the day of Christ’s Nativity, the day on which God descended to earth, the day on which the Only-begotten Son of God became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in order to grant us, mortal and transitory people, eternal life.
The Nativity of our Lord is the day on which God became man, so that men could become gods by grace; the Lord’s Nativity is the day of the revelation of the eternal truth about God, man and the world; the Nativity is the day on which heaven was united with earth; the day on which the eternal light of the knowledge of God shown forth; the Nativity is the day on which mankind is reconciled with God and people recognize that they are children of God – that all people are and will eternally be brothers, called to mutual love, reconciliation and forgiveness.
On the basis of a Memorandum that was signed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Belgrade on 15 November 2014, and with the blessing of both, Russian and Serbian Patriarchs, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, paid a working visit to R. Macedonia from 19 – 20 December 2014.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion visited Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan, who for the sake of this meeting, was temporary transferred from the prison of Idrizovo to the Skopje hospital “Mother Theresa” on 20 December. After these talks, Archbishop Jovan was returned back to the prison.
On the same day Metropolitan Hilarion, accompanied by Mr. Oleg Scherbak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to R. Macedonia, met with President of the R. Macedonia Mr. Djordje Ivanov. Following this meeting, chairman of the DECR talked with President of the Government of the R. Macedonia Mr. Nikola Gruevski and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikola Popovski. Ultimately, Metropolitan Hilarion also met with the head of the self-proclaimed, non-canonical Macedonian Orthodox Church Kyr Stephen.
While in Skopje, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion led these talks guided by the concern for unity of the Church, its salvific mission and salvation of the baptized souls in FYR Macedonia, and with respect to the perspective of regulating the canonical status of the Church in this area as well as to the unconditional final release of His Eminence Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, who had been sentenced to hard labor in a manipulated political process.
The Serbian Orthodox Church expresses herewith its deep gratitude to the sister Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk for fraternal love and cooperation, for the invested great efforts in the ministry for the canonical order and unity of the Church, as well as towards the release of His Eminence Archbishop Jovan, imprisoned without any reason, and subjected to a cruel regime in prison despite his severely impaired health.
Bishop Irinej of Bachka,
Spokesman of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Communiqué regarding the Church Community Centre at St Stephen the Archdeacon Serbian Orthodox Church in Keysborough
Without prejudice or judgement, but mindful of a serious transgression which has eventuated as a result of gross mismanagement of Church property on the part of its warden, in this case a parish priest, the Very Reverend Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Cedomir Videkanic is suspended from all liturgical and administrative functions at the Parish of St Stephen the Archdeacon in Keysborough and the Melbourne Deanery of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, from this moment and until such time as a full and thorough investigation of what transpired reveals why this was allowed to happen. In the interim, the Reverend Presbyter Dejan Milosevic will assume all administrative and liturgical duties.
With due respect accorded to all faiths and their adherents, it will be understood that the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church forbid the performance of religious rituals by those of other faith traditions, within our ecclesiastical and associated structures. Furthermore, Orthodox Christians are bound by the Canons to re-consecrate such places should such an unfortunate thing come to pass. Therefore, tomorrow on the 6th of November at 1:00pm, the undersigned together with available members of the Serbian Orthodox Clergy and faithful will gather for a service of sanctification in the Hall of St Stephen’s Church Community.
Any insinuation or assertion that a higher instance, be it myself personally, any member of the clergy or Metropolitanate Executive Board gave permission or sanctioned this transgression is completely false.
Bishop of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand
In Sydney, 5 November 2014
Holy Apostle James, First Bishop of Jerusalem
Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Nr. 1120 - September 9, 2014, Belgrade
To His Eminence Stefan, Archbishop of Ohrid in schism
Subject: Your letter and Our reaction to it
We received Your letter SAS nr. 18 from July 25, 2014, through which You are informing us of the criminal activities – as You name them – of the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Dr. Jovan.
This letter was very saddening for us. We had expected that You inform us whether you had done something, and what exactly, for the release of His Beatitude, the imprisoned and suffering Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje. Instead, You are sending us “information” on some fictional criminal activities of this respectable Hierarch, and we also heard that You have sent such letters to other Prelates of the Orthodox Churches, and even personally to many Bishops around the world.
Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Dr. Porfirije of Jegar to the throne of Metropolitans of Zagreb-Ljubljana8. July 2014 - 9:47
The enthronement of new Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana will be performed at the Cathedral church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Zagreb on Sunday, 13 July 2014. His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch will serve the Solemn Hierarchal Liturgy at 9 a.m. with the concelebration of a great number of bishops of teh Serbian Church and other Local Churches, as well as clergy and monks and the faithful people. Following the Liturgy there will be a solemn introducing of the new Metropolitan of Zagreb-Ljubljana to the throne of Metropolitans of Zagreb-Ljubljana.
Representatives of the highest authorities of Croatia, Slovenia, Republic of Srpska and Serbia, Catholic Church and other Churches and religious communites are expected to come.