The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church expressed its protest and condemned the imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan

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 on 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.

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, under whose canonical jurisdiction the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric is, from its regular assembly in May, protests and condemns this incomparable violence and persecution conducted under the guise of legal order. The Assembly is always with the brothers and sisters from the Ohrid Archbishopric, in prayer and evangelic love, and especially with their Shepherd, who patiently endures suffering for the unity of Christ’s holy Orthodox Church. He is suffering for justice and the authorities are keeping him under a strict-regime prison, despite his serious health condition. At the same time the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church 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 government of the Republic of Macedonia;
  • for the for governments and relevant public authorities of legally regulated states, primarily democratic;
  • for the international institutions; and
  • for the institutions and organizations of human rights and religious freedom;

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 16th, 2012


The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church