News and events

THE BIG PICTURE ( 04.09.2005 )

Regardless of how certain church centers or organizations look on or wish to look on the latest developments here in our midst concerning the case Vraniškovski, the truth is the following:


 1)  An irrefutable and obvious fact for all who have the complete picture of these developments is that the goal of Vraniškovski is not so much to form his own religious community as much as it is to annihilate the Macedonian Orthodox Church. The following pieces of evidence speak of this:


a) The encroachment upon the property that the MOC sustained from Vraniškovski and his followers is the first indisputable evidence. Among the other, let us mention only the well known event of trespass on the part of Vraniškovski in the Bitola church of Saint Demetrius with the attempt to perform a religious rite and the provoked physical clash inside it. The citizens of R. Macedonia have been acquainted with this all through the media. For this offence, along with the done detention, he was sentenced to one year imprisonment or two years on probation. After Vraniškovski and his own ones have realized that trespass upon others’ property is a very unpopular and chargeable criminal offence and have seen they do not have so many supporters as to take over even one shrine, they abandoned this way of acting in practice, yet not completely: in its decision to grant autonomy to its exarchate, the SOC mentions certain properties of its in R. Macedonia—although it has no such—which it leaves as a legacy to its exarchists.

b)   The second indisputable evidence is the impermissible way in which Vraniškovski is trying to register his religious community, that is, the registration application in which he appropriates the original, historical and essential ecclesiastical name of the MOC, and this is the name ‘Ohrid Archdiocese’. Of this further on speaks also the fact that he has been falsely representing himself in the public with the title ‘Archbishop of Ohrid’, a title borne by the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. This is the sole and legitimate reason due to which he was not granted the permission to register his religious community; there is no other. In conformity with the historical facts and the Constitution of our Church, at the Clergy and Laity Assembly of the year 1958, in Ohrid, the Archdiocese of Ohrid was restored as the MOC and the Head of the MOC was given the title Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia; the SOC confirmed this with its synodal decision in 1959.

c)   And the final indisputable evidence is the media attack Vraniškovski carried out against the personal and clerical integrity of the Episcopes of the Macedonian Orthodox Church—and this in a very vulgar way—as well as the attack against the integrity of the Church with the denial of its Holy Sacraments along with the affront to the religious and national feelings of the people in the Republic of Macedonia. Apart from his personal media appearance, this attack was also made through the religious calendars, church periodicals and the official website of the Serbian exarchate, which is an additional aggravating circumstance. All this has been recorded and documented. The goal of this psychological terror is all the greater breakaway of laity and clergy from the MOC and their integration into the new parallel religious community.

               And to sum up: the attack against these three componentsthe clergy and laity, the name of the Church and the title of the Head, and the property of the Church—of which every religious community consists and through which it is marked and recognized, unquestionably speaks that the main goal of Vraniškovski is not forming a new religious community, but annihilation of the MOC.


            2) An irrefutable and obvious fact to everyone is that he is doing this all for the purposes and with the assistance of a foreign state and Church, i.e. with the help of the nationalistic forces of reaction, advocates of the idea for Great Serbia, which act through certain structures of the Serbian state and, with the help of the same forces present in the Assembly of the SOC. All this has become clear to everyone, particularly after official representatives of the Serbian Government had pressed the Macedonian Government to release Vraniškovski, who is a citizen of R. Macedonia.

            3) It is also good to complete the picture with yet another irrefutable and obvious fact, and this is the legal proceedings conducted against him ever since the year 2002 on charges of embezzlement committed in all the three dioceses in which he ministered as an episcope of the MOC. Moreover, it is a general impression for all that the very integration into the SOC he did with the aim to maintain his high church position, because this happened in the moments when the internal control of the Holy Synod of Hierarchs of the MOC already started revealing his illegal actions. No one will be able to defend and rehabilitate Vraniškovski afterwards without risking at this his own credibility as well, when the court most probably passes a sentence against him for this, too.

            With no interference into the work of the independent legal system, the complete picture of the developments speaks that his actions are not in the least naive, that it is not a matter of a legal case in which Vraniškovski is sentenced to imprisonment because of a verbal misdemeanor and that with this verdict his religious rights and freedom have been violated, but that his actions have all the characteristics of a criminal offence of fanning religious and national hatred and discord. We would even say that his actions have characteristics of other actions, too, which can be recognized in Chapter 28 of the Criminal Law of R. Macedonia which covers criminal offences against the state.

            As for the heaviness of his offence, it is the best to examine and assess it through a comparison. Everyone could imagine what dimension would have had the thing done by Vraniškovski and his unregistered, yet by the SOC recognized religious community, if there were 20% or 30% Serbs living in Macedonia and if the Serbian army was positioned in Macedonia as it is happening in the present in Montenegro. Would this not have provoked a war? The European Union should be alarmed about the state of affairs in Montenegro and that is the genuine problem which should switch on the red lamps in Brussels, not the issue about the respect of religious freedom and rights in R. Macedonia. Or everyone can imagine what would have happened if similar affronts on religious basis occurred between the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Islamic religious community in Macedonia. Would this not have provoked a war? Therefore, what Vraniškovski and the SOC are doing in Macedonia, although it is merely one more unsuccessful attempt to annihilate the MOC, is not in the least naive, especially because of the internal, ideological linkage to the idea for Great Serbia and also to the political and church state of affairs in Montenegro. This is yet another reason to remove as soon as possible the veil of the Serbian media and political propaganda and lobbying and to identify behind it once again in these fifteen years the many-headed Balkan dragon—the Great-Serb nationalism and the mentioned unhealthy idea.

            I am not writing this text because I want to see someone serving a sentence, but in order for the truth to be recorded and known. Truth is always an unshakeable foundation of repentance, which, for its part, is the sole key to resolve the interchurch disagreements. Otherwise, if someone’s rights and freedom in this case for years already have been flagrantly violated, let neither the East nor the West ponder much over this, it is certainly the religious and national rights and freedom of the Macedonian—naturally, Christ’s people. If, though, someone wants to build the world on the basis of lie, he is welcome to do so… Yet our people says: lies have no wings, that is to say, it will not get far.



                                                                                                                                       Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica


               Dnevnik, 2852/3-09-2005, Forum: