Announcement of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the occasion of the latest imprisonment of Archbishop John14. May 2012 - 10:37
After years of persecution, harassment, arrests and imprisonments, His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr Dr. John, pan-Orthodoxly renowned and recognized canonical Prelate of the ancient Ohrid Archbishopric, was sentenced yesterday, May 11th, to two and a half years in prison under false charges of alleged fraud and embezzlement, the result of a politically motivated and staged pseudotrial of a Stalinist-type, organized upon the blatant request of the schismatic organization calling itself “The Macedonian Orthodox Church”. He was sentenced solely because of His unwavering commitment to the unity of the Church of God; because of his communion with the Serbian Patriarchate and thereby with universal Orthodoxy worldwide; and because of his persistent and confessional fight against the schismatic mentality and anti-Ecclesiastical ethnophiletism. This is a unique case in contemporary Europe – if not in the whole civilized world – of the authorities, by order, to commit an act of cruel violence and an atrocity upon the Orthodox Church and Her lawful senior representatives, most violently breaking both their own laws and international norms and conventions. Fortunately, several diplomats, representatives of the Orthodox Church, as well as representatives from organizations and institutions dedicated to the protection of human rights and religious freedom, attended the “trial”, and thus an accurate report and a clear picture of this sad and ugly scene staged in the Veles courtroom can be made to the relevant factors and the public.
The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, under whose canonical jurisdiction the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric is, condemns with the deepest moral indignation this incomparable violence and persecution conducted under the guise of legal order, and is always with the brothers and sisters from the Ohrid Archbishopric, in prayer and evangelic love, and especially with their Shepherd, who gladly accepts and endures suffering for our forefathers’ faith as well as for the unity of Christ’s holy Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church finally calls:
- for all sister Orthodox Churches throughout the ecumene;
- for all other Christian Churches in the world;
- for the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches and other Christian organizations;
- for the spiritual leaders of major world religions;
- for the for governments and relevant public authorities of legally regulated states, primarily democratic;
- for the international institutions;
- for the institutions and organizations of human rights and religious freedom; and
- for all people of good will;
to provide spiritual, moral, legal and any other possible support to the prisoner of conscience, the Archbishop John, and to contribute to his release from prison as soon as possible.
Belgrade, May 12th, 2012
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church
THE EDICT OF MILAN (313-2013): A BASIS FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF?
Novi Sad, Serbia: May, 2nd - 5th, 2012.
C O N C L U S I O N S
Departing from the Everlasting values and permanent actuality of Edict of Milan, at the eve of the Great Jubilee 2013, the participants of the conference THE EDICT OF MILAN (313-2013): A BASIS FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF?, organized in the city of Novi Sad (SERBIA) from 2nd till 5th may 2012 discussed different aspects of ways in which the everlasting symbolic message associated with the so called Edict of Milan could be the source of inspiration and the guideline for practical implementation of principle of Freedom of Religion or Belief. The conference was organized and hosted by the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa and the Association of NGOs in SEE, CIVIS, in partnership with PRO ORIENTE Foundation and Peace and Crises Management Foundation and in cooperation with CEC. It brought together theologians, historians and experts from different religious communities from all over the Europe and even beyond. The participants expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the excellent framework for a fruitful exchange of views in an atmosphere of mutual respect, which the organizers have provided. The following conclusions, offered by the organizers of the conference, may serve as a basis for the future cooperation in promoting freedom of religion or belief.
The Serbian Orthodox Church
to her spiritual children
at Pascha, 2012
By the grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with the 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 Paschal greeting:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
”This is the day which the Lord made;
Let us rejoice, and be glad in it”!
The Resurrection of Christ our Savior is, dear brothers and sisters and all our spiritual children throughout the inhabited world, “The Feast of Feasts, the celebration above all celebrations” – the Miracle above all miracles and the Gift above all gifts, which All-Mighty God, in His immeasurable mercy and love, has given to mankind. In this Gift are found all gifts; in this Blessing are found all blessings – as here on earth, so also in heaven (cf. Ephesians 1:3).
The Serbian Orthodox Church
to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2011
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!
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…”
With the genealogy of Jesus Christ, “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1), dear brothers and sisters, begins the Gospel of Christ, God’s blessed and joyous news to mankind.
On this day of the joyous Feast of the Nativity of Christ all Christian hearts throughout the world are filled with the song of the angels of God, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men”. (Luke 2:14) This Day is a great joy for the entire world “for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. (Luke 2:11)
Today, on 12th December 2011, in attempt to enter the F.Y.R. Macedonia, on the border-crossing Medzitlija, on the border with Greece, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr kyr Jovan was arrested and taken to the “Idrizovo” prison, near Skopje. Upon the false accusations by the schismatic organization in F.Y.R. Macedonia, in 2010 Archbishop Jovan was sentenced a prison term, but because the court process was performed in his absence, he has the legal right to request a repeat of the procedure. Therefore, it is expected that in three to five days he should be released from prison, and granted a new court procedure during which he would defend himself from freedom. Only as a reminder, on 16th November 2010 Archbishop Jovan was arrested on the Bulgarian border, upon a request by the Macedonian bureau of Interpol, in regard to exactly this court sentence, but the Court in Bulgaria released him with a rationale that the court verdict in F.Y.R. Macedonia was a result of the persecution on religious grounds, which the Archbishop undergoes for nine years already, and not because he was indeed guilty according to the criminal law.
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church with this appeal addresses all participants of the drama in the northern region of Kosovo and Metohija, with the warm prayer to God, the only Source of true peace, unity and love among peoples and nations, that they not allow this drama to be turned into a tragedy.