Honourable Patriarchal Letter to the Most Blessed Patriarch of Serbia kyr kyr Paul

Protocol no.32

Your Beatitude and Most Holy Patriarch of the Serbs, in Christ, the Lord, dear and beloved brother and coofficiator of Our Humbleness, kyr Paul, we brotherly embrace Your honest Beatitude in our Lord and with great joy we greet you!

We have received your letter number 06/2004 dating from 15 January 2004, and we have studied it at our Synodal meeting with great care and understandable anxiety, for with it you inform us of the painful and unacceptable actions of the schismatic leaders of the Orthodox people in FYROM, against the bishops, the clerics, the monastics and the believing people, together with the fierce support of the country’s authorities.

Considering it our duty and responsibility, as the Mother Church, to urgently undertake the necessary initiatives and thus prevent the unnecessary and dangerous escalation of the problem, we have accepted the sincere plea of Your esteemed Beatitude and we have taken the necessary precautions to stop the situation from getting worse.

Namely, in our Patriarchal message addressed to the political leaders of the FYROM, we eagerly pleaded that they abandon their fierce measures by which they violate the internationally recognized religious freedom, at the same time, pointing out the serious danger that stems from the fierce actions of the authorities, also, accentuating the extraordinary sensitivity of the International organizations regarding the issues of protection of the religious freedom and the freedom of conscience of the believers, and we particularly emphasized the multicultural society of the abovementioned country where the authorities are summoned to protect the right to the freedom of religious confession, and finally, highlighting the equal treatment and protection of the religious communities inhabiting that country.

In this name we hope that this intervention of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and us personally, will contribute not only to the release of the banished bishops, clerics and monastics, but also to the averting of the escalation, so that the always better path of the constructive dialogue for the overcoming the discouraging situation would not be disabled. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, which has always felt obliged to the Most Holy Serbian Church as well as to Your esteemed Beatitude, will keep on searching for other positive perspective paths for overcoming of the temptations that trouble the pious Serbian people.

In this name, warmly praying to the Lord so that He will guide with His hand this – God forbid that it gets worse – situation, we brotherly embrace Your Beatitude remaining with deep love and exceptional respect.

20th Jan. 2004
Your esteemed Beatitude’s
dear brother in Christ
Bartholomew of Constantinople