News and events

The organization for protection of human rights and freedom should define the problem explicitly ( 22.08.2005 )

Apart from maintaining that in R. Macedonia with the verdict in the case ‘Vraniškovski’ the rights of free choice and practice of confession have not been observed, an Organization for protection of human rights and freedom shows with nothing else that the choice of its acute allegation is true and, what would also be fully relevant and generally desired, fruitful. It issues a statement, with a conclusion, yet without an explanation. The linear thinking, for its part,—in this case taking into consideration only the prison as a final sanction or the rejection of the request for registration of a religious community or a religious group, without entering more essentially into the problem—may be the reason for incorrect conclusions and erroneous reports to the European Commission for human rights, and by this also a reason for the mistaken impression about the overall image of the Republic of Macedonia.

            First, the fact about an illegal attempt to disintegrate a legal “institution” as is the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) on the part of the citizen Vraniškovski is a sufficient reason to hand down a final judicial sanction against him. Second, this fact about an illegal, disintegration attempt—a media attack against the personal and clerical integrity of the Episcopes of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, denial of the holy Mysteries of the Church and an affront to the religious and national feelings of the nation, as well as encroachment upon the property of the Church—is also sufficient all to become clear: certainly, if the aim of Vraniškovski was to form (register) a new Orthodox Church, as alleged, he would not have acted in that way. However, the impermissible method he is using suggests that his aim is completely different, that is: to overthrow the existing system of administration in the Macedonian Orthodox Church, rather than form a new religious community. And hence—third, his sentence does not represent certain restriction of the religious freedom, as stated by some organizations for human rights and freedom, but is a legal sanction against his illegal obstruction of the work of the Macedonian Orthodox Church’s Synod, which is happening with an apparent assistance of external factors (ecclesiastical and governmental) whose interest is to change the existing church structure in R. Macedonia and impose their own one, as a condition to annex certain church territories to “their own” Church and State.

            An incontrovertible evidence in favor of the above mentioned assertion, i.e. that the citizen Vraniškovski is making an attempt to destabilize and annihilate the Macedonian Orthodox Church rather than an attempt to form a new religious community, along with the illegal way he is using is also the fact that he requests to register the same under the name which is an essential and original name of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and that is the name ‘Ohrid Archdiocese’, as well as the fact that he represents himself in the public with the title ‘Archbishop of Ohrid’, a part of the title borne by the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. That is the sole and legitimate reason due to which he did not get the permission to register his religious community; there is no other.

            Therefore, Vraniškovski’s imprisonment only at first sight may seem as an infringement on human rights and as a preference on the part of the government and judiciary of the Republic of Macedonia in the protection of rights shown towards one religious community (the Macedonian Orthodox Church) at the expense of another one (“that of Vraniškovski”), yet in any case the illegal attempt to destabilize and destroy a given system from within (‘the Synod of the MOC’), which includes in itself a significant sub-system (‘nation’)—these entities are directly inseparably mutually connected, whereas indirectly they are connected with the state as well—indicates that here it is a matter of something completely different, i.e. that a clash is occurring of completely different, non-ecclesiastical interests on a widest scale. If to the fact about an internal illegal attempt to disintegrate the MOC we add the fact about the impermissible interference externally from the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) and from certain other structures of the Serbian state into the affairs that are within the reference of R. Macedonia or of the MOC, then it becomes clear that what is happening is a form of a alien political ambition and intervention, i.e. one more attempt to accomplish the idea of Great Serbia through the SOC.

            It is an obligation of every country, according to the international law, to respect the rights and freedom of man and to restrain itself from infringement upon the same. Still, since one country, owing to the principle of sovereignty, has no direct jurisdiction over the territory of another country, then rather indicative are the demand and the pressure on the part of certain structures from the Serbian state top to condemn the Macedonian state and to make it accountable for the imprisonment of Vraniškovski, who is a citizen of R. Macedonia. Serbia (and also any other country) has a sovereign competence and obligations only towards its citizens and on its territory. This fact is being left out of the premises at the forming of a final judgment about the case ‘Vraniškovski’ when it is viewed from a priori (theoretical) standpoints of an Organization for human rights, yet it is a fact which is the key indicator that the Serbian state is interfering into the internal affairs of R. Macedonia. This is yet another confirmation that we have a situation of a wrong definition of the very problem.

            Hence, it is in no case a matter of preventing the citizens in R. Macedonia from the practice of their religion, as some wish to represent this development. In favor of this speaks also the fact that in R. Macedonia there are many religious communities which with no forced form of assimilation whatsoever, or alike, carry out their religious activities. Even more relevant than this is the fact that in the Republic of Macedonia there is no other mutual conflict of religious communities, except in this case, in which it is apparently a matter of an illegal attempt to overthrow the Synod of the MOC on the part of the SOC through their unregistered and illegitimate church branch in R. Macedonia headed by Vraniškovski. Also, R. Macedonia is perhaps the sole example of a country in the world in which the large majority of citizens that belong to two religious communities (Orthodox and Islamic) choose for a president a man that belongs to a third religious community (Protestant), which is insignificant in number—this fact of itself is a sufficient indicator that human rights and freedom and religious tolerance are exercised unhindered to a high degree on its geopolitical territory.


the sub-deacon Gregory