Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Pro-Archbishop Jovan Rally in Front of Macedonian Embassy to the USA in Washington DC





On 31 May, in front of the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia to the USA in Washington DC, Orthodox Christians held a protest rally demanding that Macedonian government unconditionally release Metropolitan-Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski of Ohrid and Skopje from prison. They also demanded an immediate end to prosecutions on religious grounds, the ending of all actions against bishops, monastics, clergy, and believers of the SPC Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid, as well as demanding that the Macedonian state immediately register the SPC body as a legitimate religious organisation.

The rally was cleared with DC authorities. The protestors stood with lit candles during a prayer for the believers in the Archbishopric of Ohrid as they face persecution from state authorities. The passed out leaflets to passers-by, summarising the decade-long persecution by the separatist authorities of Macedonia, in their attempt to favour the so-called Macedonian Orthodox Church over the believers of the canonical Church in the country. Another such rally will be held in front of the US Department of State.

In late May, the press service of the SPC announced a wave of arrests of clergy in the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric in the Republic of Macedonia, saying, “we wish to inform you and the international community that yesterday, 21 May 2012, at 07.00 CET, major police elements forcibly broke into many monasteries and homes of believers in the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric”. As the SPC press service reported, in Štip, the police conducted a search for Bishop Marko Kimev of Bregalnica and Administrator ofBitola {St John Maximovich taught in the seminary at Bitola when he was a hieromonk: editor}; they arrested Mother Pelagia when they couldn’t find him. In Skopje, many policemen entered the Convent of the Assumption of the Mother of God, looking for Bishop David Ninov of Stobi and Administrator of Strumica; since they didn’t find him, they arrested the abbess, Mother Kirana. The police brutalised the nuns, robbed them of their mobile phones, and harassed them by carrying out a cold-blooded search of the premises, filming everything with a video camera. In addition, the police entered the Convent of St John Chrysostom in Bitola, looking for the superior, Mother Olimpiada; because they couldn’t find her, they rudely harassed the rest of sisterhood. The police also entered the Monastery of the Assumption of the Mother of God in Prilep and arrested Hieromonk Mojsej.

The Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid is an integral part of the SPC, carrying out the Church’s mission in the present-day Republic of Macedonia. Currently, the authorities have imprisoned its First Hierarch, Metropolitan-Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski.

4 June 2012



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