June 7, 2012
Prayers for the Persecuted and Terrorized Orthodox Christians in Macedonia
Following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, June 10, 2012, at 11:30am a Prayer of Intercession for the persecuted clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in Macedonia - Ohrid Archbishopric, will be held at the NY Diocesan Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection. We invite all to join us in prayer for the freedom of religion and the unity of the Church in Macedonia.
Announcement to the domestic and the international public on the occasion of the latest state terror on religious basis in R. Macedonia against the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric
The domestic public had the opportunity to be informed about the latest state terror on religious basis carried out towards the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric single-sidedly and identically by the police and the media, which – according to the latest U.S. State Department Human Rights Report – together with the judiciary, are marked as the most problematic segments of the Macedonian society.
In continuation we will briefly indicate the reasons for the latest police searches and harassments, as well as the judicial measures against the Bishops, priest-monks, nuns and the faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric has on two terms – according to both the old and the new law – had the applications for its registration in the court register of churches and religious communities rejected. In regard to that case the Prosecution also refused to protect the lawfulness. The Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric is a pan-orthodoxly recognized Church that has its structure in which people are realizing various activities, and it is simply not possible that these citizens cease to exist only because the state – in the last 10 years – is unjustly terrorizing them on religious basis and refuses to register the Church.
For those reasons, the Association of citizens “Anastasia” was legally registered, its primary purpose being the enhancement of the religious freedoms in R. Macedonia. (Through the realization of its legally granted right, the establishment of the Association and its activities are in accordance with the Law for associations of citizens and foundations, and hence, according to article № 2, the Association has the right to income, to donations intended for the realization of purposes and activities, according to the Statute and the Law.) If the court allows for a registration, then the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric would not have a reason to accomplish its activities through associations of citizens. The Association “Anastasia” (which is founded by nuns), made a contract for purchasing of premises where the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric would be able to realize their religious needs. For that purpose, donors, members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, decided to aid the Association with their own funds. The public prosecution, on the other hand, fully unjustified, illegal, and without absolutely no proof upon which a suspicion for a criminal act of “money laundering” would be based, aims to present the donors’ funds as funds that Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid has misappropriated from the schismatic Macedonian orthodox church (MOC)! But what clearly shows that this is a case of state terror on religious grounds, among other things, is the fact that in the court process against Archbishop Jovan, it was insisted to the instructions of the Court of Appeals that the criminal act “evasion” does not suggest that someone had gained material benefit for himself, and the expertise, as well as the acquittal verdicts for Archbishop Jovan showed that he has not misappropriated any funds. Finally, the court is aware that the automobile of the Eparchy, the library, the marble pillars in Bitola’s temple of “St Demetrios”, the building “Malina” in Veles, the church economy “Voskresenie” and the whole movable and immovable property for which the schismatic MOC is accusing Archbishop Jovan, has not even for one moment been his private property, but instead, it is inalienable property of the schismatic MOC, for which – as we indicated – the Court of First Instance in Veles has on two terms acquitted Archbishop Jovan, and also the court in Sofia, Bulgaria, denied the extradition of Archbishop Jovan in R. Macedonia, wondering how at all could it be possible for Archbishop Jovan to have “embezzled” even those funds that he – as the active Bishop – has paid as personal income to the employees, and how could it be possible for him to “embezzle” even the paid bills for electricity and public services! Therefore, the court in Bulgaria refused his extradition with a rationale that “the financial embezzlement for which Archbishop Jovan is being accused of, are nothing else, but a political persecution on religious grounds”.
That this is a case of a staged state persecution, it could be clearly seen from the court decision for an investigative process in which, in neither of the accusations the expression presumably there is “money laundering” is used, but rather, the decision for the persecution looks as if the investigative bodies have already written the sentence. At the same time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has placed – contrary to the law – all information in the public, with what a prejudge is made of a contradictory process which should be lead in the court. Also, the MIA should not have stated with certainty that there had been intentions for money laundering, because the evidences for such a case are being additionally collected and the formation of the accusation in process. Also, the court and the police are not respecting the presumption of innocence, and by publicly displaying the private data and by making the detentions with handcuffs on the hands and in front of video cameras, they have in a way already sentenced the donors of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric! On top of that, the police harassed and hit nuns. During the search it confiscated the registry books of the baptized and the married, the protocol books with the whole correspondence of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, of exclusively religious character, and many other documents and items, also of exclusively religious character! What has that to do with “money laundering”! The impression is undoubtedly that the state apparatus, with totalitarian methods is persecuting the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, without laws and trials.
In the European judiciary, in regard to money laundering, an additional, very precise expression is used: laundering of dirty money. That is money gained through drugs, prostitution and other illegal activities. In the Macedonian judiciary even the law itself is titled: Law for prevention of laundering of money and other income of criminal actions and financing of terrorism.
In this case, such funds neither exist, nor have been laundered. It is a case of donors’ personal funds, which they have, with a contract for the donation, on their personal will and wish, donated to the account of the association “Anastasia”, solely for the purpose of realization of their religious needs. For that purpose, the association “Anastasia” has signed a contract for purchasing of premises. In R. Macedonia there are many donors which are in any time ready to donate to the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric! Having in mind the newly aroused circumstances, we expect that the authorities start to imprison and terrorize all people who are members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric!
In that manner, the authorities of R. Macedonia are performing a selective implementation of the laws. The priests of the state-sponsored schismatic MOC for their activities, baptisms, marriages, funeral services, selling of candles etc. are not issuing fiscal receipts to the citizens, hence the state has no control over their incomes and the way those incomes are realized, but none of them has been spectacularly detained, as were the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, who are donating personal funds in a legal manner! Also, for the secular authorities all religions should be equal, but in this case, the MIA named the last action against Archbishop Jovan, the Bishops, priest-monks, nuns and the faithful people as “Schismatic”, with which it has deliberately and undoubtedly put itself in the service of the schismatic MOC, since only they consider Archbishop Jovan a schismatic. At the same time, it should be highlighted that the schismatic MOC does not have doctrinal and eucharistical unity with the Orthodox Churches in the world, which consider MOC a schismatic church, contrary to the Archbishop Jovan and the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, who have the doctrinal and eucharistical unity with all local orthodox Churches.
The Republic of Macedonia is the only country in Europe that – making a great injustice – in the last ten years has already for the sixth time imprisoned Archbishop Jovan, who is a Prelate of a recognized orthodox Christian Church. And while he is in prison, as many times before, it prepares a new accusation against him! Now, continuing to make injustices, it has taken the passports of and is starting a new court process in which it threatens with prison sentences other two Hierarchs – Bishop Marko and Bishop David, priest-monks Mojsej and Irinej, the abbess Kirana, the prioress Olimpiada, the nuns Magdalina and Pelagia and not a small number of citizens members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
The state pogrom on religious basis in 21st century Europe, in R. Macedonia, continues.
For more information view this video: