22.05.2013

The US State Department published its regular International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, for R. Macedonia.

As usual, a large number of the domestic journalists, which Freedom House names “political appointees”, staging an atmosphere of a full absence of religious freedom violation, cover only the part of the report that says that “the government generally respected religious freedoms”.

Below, we are highlighting some parts of the Report that the domestic public did not have a chance to learn about from the Macedonian media.

The US State Department in its latest report, among other issues, points out that members of other religious groups asserted that the government favored the MOC by granting it public properties free of charge, providing funding for the construction of new churches and moreover, they are accusing the ruling coalition’s dominant ethnic Macedonian party of politicizing religious issues for its own political gain by appealing to the religious beliefs and identity of the country’s majority and by using the MOC as a tool to that end.

In the US State Department Report due attention has been paid to the persecution of the canonical Orthodox Church in R. Macedonia, the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. The report underlines that the members of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid, recognized by the Serbian Orthodox Church as the sole legitimate autonomous Orthodox Church in Macedonia (and that means that all topical orthodox churches consider the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric a part of the Catholic Orthodox Church), alleged that the government subjected them to media harassment and undue monitoring due to their religious beliefs.

The report also notes the latest politically motivated court persecution, which has been expanded to several Bishops, monastics and faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, indicating that – in May 2012 the Ministry of Justice accused several members of its members of “money laundering”, after which the authorities transferred Archbishop Jovan to the detention prison of Suto Orizari. The report states that the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric claimed that the prison conditions were unacceptable. The same claim has been made also by the US State Department in its latest Human Rights Report for Macedonia (http://poa-info.org/news/2013/04/20130422.html).

Finally, the US State Department concludes that the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid did not recognize the MOC’s self-declared autocephaly.

We remind that more than forty years, not a single other topical orthodox church has recognized the self-declared, from the time of the communism (1967),  autocephaly of the MOC, hence in the Orthodox World, MOC is considered a schismatic religious organization!

The complete report is found on the following link: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?year=2012&dlid=208340