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Facts about the criminal and illegal activities of Jovan Vranishkovski, former bishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric (MPC-OA) ( 26.08.2014 )

Please find attached the information about the criminal activities of Jovan Vranishkovski, a former bishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric (MPC-OA).

We think this is an opportunity for you to get acquainted with his illegal activities in MPC-OA and the reasons for the court proceedings and decisions against him. 

We hope that this would give you a better perspective on the injustice suffered by the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Best regards,






After the recent statements and messages that there would be no continuation of the talks between the Serbian and the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric while Jovan Vranishkovski, a former metropolitan of the MPC-OA is imprisoned, that there would be no recognition of the MPC-OA while the church of Jovan is prosecuted, that the criminal prosecution and conviction of Jovan's is a persecution and conviction of the Serbian Orthodox Church, or "how can a bishop be imprisoned", that he is a modern martyr... as well as the unfounded remarks of certain international representatives and institutions, and human rights organizations toward the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric and the Republic of Macedonia (RM), we think it's necessary, for the sake of the truth, and on the basis of the legal court acts about him, to give a short summary of his case. [1]

Namely, Jovan (Vranishkovski) is a former archierarch of the MPC-OA who, during the period 1998-2002, has been appointed to different positions/functions by the Holy Bishop's Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric (SAS of MPC-OA): first, as a vicar of the Prespa-Pelagonia Diocese, then an administrator of the Bregalnica Diocese, and then appointed bishop of the Povardarska Diocese. Because of confirmed financial abuses in all three dioceses, the Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric, with the Decision SAS No. 250 from July 10th, 2003, defrocked him.

In 2004, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Veles submitted a case against him for the crime of embezzlement. After that, the Municipal Court in Veles established that in the period of June 11th, 1998 to July 9th, 2002, there were several cases of illegal monetary gain for himself and other persons from significant sums that were   confided to him (total of 14,804,211 MKD).[2]


- He has spent the sum of 375,540.00 MKD (in the period from March 1st, 1999 to January 18th, 2000), collected from the Prespa-Pelagonia Diocese as archbishop's cut, for other purposes without the consent of the diocesan bodies;

- - He has taken the sum of 1,000,000.00 MKD from the Government of RM (No. 23-4740-1 from November 1st, 1999), granted to the Prespa-Pelagonia Diocese (with a seat in the city of Bitola) through the State Commission for Relations with Religious Communities, transferred to the account of the church of St. Demetrius in Bitola (instead of the bank account of the Diocese) in cash from the head priest of the church (with a receipt note) as if the Government funds were for him personally.

- After being appointed the administrator of the Bregalnica Diocese, with a seat in the city of Shtip, the Diocesan Managing Board (EUO), by his demand, brought a decision to pay the MAKKAR company from Skopje 16,555 DEM, while he received 35,000 DEM in cash, with the explanation that he paid the vehicle BMW 320 d from his own pocket. Later on, he has taken the same vehicle to the Povardarska Diocese, but has not refunded the Bregalnica Diocese.

- On May 5th, 1999, he has approved payment of 330,671.00 MKD from the account for the reconstruction of the church of St. Demetrius in Bitola to PP "ETI", based on invoice No. 42/99, for which there are no other documents.

- An amount of 396,000.00 MKD was transferred on to the account of the Bregalnica Diocese on August 23rd, 2000, with the purpose of help for the church of St. Demetrius in Bitola, based on a cession agreement with the public Macedonian Power company "Elektrostopanstvo" from Skopje and the power plant REK "Bitola" with HMS "Strezhevo". He has received the funds on August 27th, 2000, but didn't make a payment to the account of the church of St. Demetrius in Bitola, which has been the original purpose.


- He has taken the amount of 259,004.00 MKD, designated for pension and disablement insurance, on the basis of Agreement No. 94 from June 10th, 2001 between him and the EUO, in cash from the treasury of the Povardarska Diocese with a seat in Veles, instead of making payments to the appropriate public agencies, and used it for his personal needs.

- The amount of 56.000 DEM, property of the Monastery St. John in Vetersko, Povardarska Diocese, designated for its electrification, and gathered from different companies and individual donors, was used for other purposes with his approval: buying vehicles for private companies managed by him personally, as well as for the expenses of his relatives working in his private companies.

- He has given Povardarska Diocese funds: the sum of 11,621.00 MKD, for the registration of an affiliate company of his firm in Bulgaria, 150,000.00 MKD as a down payment for tractors, as well as 140,183.00 MKD for buying goods for sale for his privately owned companies, and after he left the Diocese, the vehicles and the goods were not left as property of the Diocese that paid for them, but he took them for himself illegally.

- For his company "Voskresenie", which has no administrative connection with the MPC-OA, he has bought a building from "Velesprom-Malina Inc". in Veles for the sum of 2,480,290.00 MKD and 15.310 EUR, funds from the Monastery St. John, Vetersko, from the Monastery St. Demetrius, Veles, from the Paraklisi  Fund of the Povardarska Diocese, from the church of St. Athanasious in Negotino, and from the diocesan treasury, not leaving any documents for the transactions at the sources. Later on, he has offered the same building as a guarantee for a fictional loan, and he allegedly "lost" it because of the unpaid debt, so he has taken for himself the sums of 2,480,290.00 MKD and 15.310 EUR. The truth about this case was established in the court proceedings after a testimony of a protected witness who has been paid not to talk about it, but his conscience urged him to tell the truth after he witnessed the deeds of the former bishop.

- He has taken for himself a sum of 491,894.00 MKD from the church shops, although purchases of the goods were made with funds of the Povardarska Diocese.

- He has paid for a rented apartment in Thessalonici with funds from the Povardarska Diocese, the sum of 34,362.00 MKD, although he didn't inform the Diocese, nor did he have an approval from the diocesan bodies. He has spent another 169,144.00 MKD for the same purpose.

- Also, with a decision of the Municipal Court in Veles, he was convicted for the crime of embezzlement in 2002. Namely, he has intentionally ordered an employee of the Povardarska Diocese to take funds from the diocesan account, which were donated by Mr. Trifun Kostovski through Komak Corporatrion from Vienna, Austria, for the reconstruction of the church of St. Panteleimon in Veles - a total of 57.180 DEM. Instead for the reconstruction of the church, the funds were put on Jovan's personal account in a bank in Bulgaria.

- While being a bishop in Shtip, he has signed an agreement for renting offices in Shtip in the name of the Bregalnica Diocese, for a monthly payment of 240 DEM, which were paid by the Diocese. The offices were used by his private company, and the profits did not go into the Diocesan treasury, but in his pockets.

- From the sum of 1,000,000.00 MKD, a donation for the Povardarska Diocese for the celebration of 2000 years of Christianity, he has spent 992,754.00 MKD for his personal matters.

- With the Decision IV KIOK No. 34/12 from May 21st, 2012, by the Council for fighting money laundering and financial terrorism, an investigation has been started against him because of confirmed doubts that he has committed the crime of money laundering. Namely, in order to conceal the origin of the money, he has distributed the sum of 4,940,790.00 to his relatives and friends, and they made payments to the association "Anastasija" from Nizhopole, near Bitola (the place where he has a property from his parents and where most often resides). In 2007 he bought a property in the village of Nerezi near Skopje for the sum of 140.911 EUR. The court proceedings for these crimes are not finished.

Otherwise, the public prosecutor and the court has only confirmed what was previously found out during the audit of his work by the Archbishop's Managing Board (AUO) of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (Report No. 67 from May 12th, 2003) and the Bureau for Forensic Expertise of the Republic of Macedonia (twice). The audit by the Commission of the AUO was made by his demand, while he was still a member of the Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. The findings about his crimes probably contributed to his later decision to seek refuge with the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The crime of embezzlement is one of the crimes that damage property of legal and individual persons. Penalty Codes of every country, so also the Macedonian, contain provisions that protect property from illegal acquirement. The inviolability of property is a constitutional category in every modern country. The principle of lawful crime investigation is a basic principle of the law enforcement agencies. According to this principle, every person for whom there is a doubt that has committed a crime will be investigated, without regard to their status or other position in society. (That's also the case with the former bishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric Jovan Vranishkovski, for whom enforceable court decisions have established that he committed several property crimes and embezzled money from the Macedonian Orthodox Church– Ohrid Archbishopric.)

Otherwise, he has lived out of Macedonia for a longer period of time after his conviction, in order to evade his sentence. Although he knew that there is a warrant for him, he didn't want to be extradited to Macedonia, but later on, thinking that his crime has lapsed, he had voluntarily entered Republic of Macedonia, and he was taken to prison from the border. There were many comments by those who do not know the truth about him, or have helped him to do and continue with his deeds[3], that it is not proper for a bishop to be imprisoned. - Yes, it is not proper, but it is even less proper for an arhcierarch to abuse funds from the Church he has vowed to serve honestly and faithfully. If for crimes such as his, and similar to them, a Patriarch in Jerusalem lost his position (Irineos, the Head of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church), as well as a Metropolitan of the Greek Church (Panteleymon in Atika), several bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Artemie, Constantin), why can't Jovan Vranishkovski, after a committed crime, be there where he deserved to be?! Are the bishops free from obeying the commands and laws of God and the holy canons of the Church, or even the bishops vow?

It was our obligation to inform You about some facts and proofs, for Your personal knowledge, so having also in mind the arguments of "the other side", to form Your position and opinion both for the convict, and the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric, and to conclude what's the basis of keeping hostage an ancient Orthodox Church, an ancient Orthodox people, and why is the resolution of the status of a live Church with deep historical and canonical foundations so conditioned and postponed? And a proof that the reason for his prosecution and conviction is his criminal behavior, is the fact that the other three bishops, his brothers in the so called Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric (POA) of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Republic of Macedonia are not imprisoned, although their activities are also suspicious and illegal.

Finally, Jovan ended in prison only because of his own crimes! So, we ask ourselves: are those "sufferings", as their mentors love to name them, that deserve the attribute martyrdom?! And what are the criteria for getting a tomos for the recognition of the status as the one that he and his POA got from the Serbian Orthodox Church?!

This is a brief history of the financial misdeeds and abuses of the former Bishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric, while for the spiritual harm, the fooling of the people and destroying the reputation of the Macedonian and the Church of Christ, we believe he will be responsible before the Eternal and Just Judge. 

If Jovan Vranishkovski had the virtue to confess the proven guilt, return the funds he acquired illegally from the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric and repent, we are certain that all the bodies, even the ecclesiastic, would have done everything that is just. But we are deeply convinced that he does not wish that, nor the Serbian Orthodox Church, because, in that case, the project of the so called Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric would be ruined, as well as the myth for Jovan's martyrdom.

[1] All the prosecution acts and convictions can be found with the convict, at the Prosecutor's Office and Municipal Court in Veles, with his lawyer Vasko Georgiev from Bitola, and at the Law Office Trpenovski in Skopje, which has represented the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric.


[2] 1 DEM = 30.5 MKD; 1 EUR = 61.5 MKD


[3] The defrocked bishop receives monthly funds from the Government of Serbia through the Vranje Diocese, as well as help from dioceses of the Serbian and the Greek Orthodox Churches and from Orthodox dioceses in USA, Canada and other churches and countries.