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

Athens, 23 January 2004

Number of protocol 133

Most blessed Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and Patriarch of Serbia, in Christ the Lord deeply beloved and dearest brother and co-officiator to our humbleness, kyr Paul, by embracing in God Your Beatitude, we address you with the greatest satisfaction.

We received and attentively read the Honourable Letter (no. of protocol 6) from 15 January fro the beloved and most-honoured Beatitude, in which with pain in your soul You inform us of the cry of concern and suffering of the canonically close to Your Patriarchate of Serbia the established Autonomous Holy Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, because of the fierce persecution by the agencies of FYROM against the above-mentioned Holy Archbishopric which culminated with the imprisonment of His Eminence the Metropolitan of Veles kyr John.

Our permanent Holy Synod of the Most Holy Paul’s Apostolic Church of Greece, after being informed with disturbance and grief, which, so to say, offends the contemporary European humanist sensitivity, at the Holy Session in the month January, decided to give and Answer, which will not only express our bitterness, but will also present a protest against such an unacceptable act against the dignity of the clergy of the Orthodox Church.

The event with the arrest and imprisonment by the State Authorities of FYROM of the abovementioned people represents a clear violation of the human rights, as well as of the right to freely confess our religious consciousness, and is also against all legal norms.

The Church of Greece, as You already know, by sending a row of announcement, sharply protested before the Government of FYROM, and informed the Council of the European Churches, SOMESE, Vatican, the Chairman of the European Union, the Chairman of the European Council and O.N.E., and it kindly asked of the Government to undertake the necessary measures for the immediate release of His Eminence the Metropolitan of Veles kyr John and the other people arrested, which will contribute to the solution of the emerged crisis.

Informing You of this, we embrace Your beloved Beatitude with a holy embrace and with love in Christ we finish.

Beloved Brother in Christ,
+ Christodoulou of Athens