Christianity Today is one of the largest web sites devoted non-denominational Chirstianity. This is a very biased article reflecting the success of the anti-Macedonian coalition of the Serbian and Orthodox Churches.
Christian Today > Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church Sentenced to Prison in Macedonia: "Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church Sentenced to Prison in Macedonia
Posted: Saturday, June 25 , 2005, 21:33 (UK)
Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church, Jovan (Zoran Vranisskovski) of Ohrid was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Macedonian Court of Appeal, Forum 18 has reported.
Archbishop Jovan was charged of 'inciting national, racial and religious hatred, schism and intolerance.'
The Archbishop commented on the situation: 'When they imprisoned an archbishop of a church in the 21st century - merely for serving his people - what else can you say about the system and the state?'
The archbishop is due to be taken to prison eight days after the court decision. He told Forum 18, he had not yet seen the verdict, but expected the court to copy the ruling of the lower court. 'This ruling is final and any appeal to the Supreme Court will not put off serving the prison sentence. So, as you may expect, I am going to jail after all.'
The sentencing of Archbishop Jovan is the latest move in the long lasting discord in Macedonia between the Serbian Orthodox Church and Macedonian Orthodox Church.
The origin of the discord dates back to the 1958, when under pressure from the then-communist government of Marshal Tito, the Macedonian Church was established.
Ten years later in 1968, the Macedonian Church declared its autonomy from the Serbian Orthodox Church; however it was not accepted by any other canonical Orthodox Church in the world.
The Macedonian government refused to give state registration to the Serbian Orthodox Church, and has staged police raids with priests of the rival Macedonian Orthodox Church to 'persuade' members of the Serbian Church in Macedonia to join the Macedonian Church and they also demolished a monastery.
The actions of the Macedonian government against the Serbian Orthodox Church in Macedonia were intensified after the Serbian Church in late May granted full autonomy to its branch in Macedonia and elevated Jovan to the rank of Archbishop.
'It is ridiculous that they are trying to silence me, in this age of the internet and mass communication' Archbishop Jovan told Forum 18. 'When they strike the shepherd they expect the sheep to scatter, but church history is paradoxical – the more the church is persecuted, the more followers it gets.'"