Republic of Greece
Holy Synod of Bishops
of the Church of Greece


His Eminence
Mr. Branko Crvenkovski
President of the Government of FYROM

Most Eminent President,

The Church of Greece was surprised and bewildered when it received the news for the taking into custody of the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Veles, kyr John and the group of clerics, monastics and laymen, during the divine Liturgy, with the unacceptable and false accusation of “provoking religious hatred.” This problem disturbed the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, who at its meeting, on 14 January 2004, reached a decision to express not only grief but also its protest against this intolerable act at the damage of the religious work of the Orthodox Church.

The event of taking into custody and imprisoning of the abovementioned persons by Your government authorities represents obvious violation of the human rights as well as of the right of freedom of religious confession, which is contrary to any understanding of the law.

The Church of Greece sharply protests and cordially asks for Your Government to take the necessary measures for the urgent release of the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Veles kyr John and the rest of the people taken into custody, which will greatly contribute to the solution of the instigated crisis.

With genial hope of the fulfillment of our plea we close with a blessing and respect.

+ Christodoulou of Athens, President

Archimandrite Chrisostom Sklifas