The Holy Synod of the ŒCOCW joins the multitude of Orthodox and Catholic jurisdictions worldwide in requesting that Archbishop Jovan, leader of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, be released by the government of the FYR Macedonia.
The synod views the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan as continued harassment, initiated as a result of an ongoing internal disagreement within the Macedonian Orthodox Church regarding reunification of churches separated during the Communist occupation and persecution under the former Soviet Union.
The synod is of the opinion that, as the basis of this disagreement is entirely Church-related, the government of FYR Macedonia has no legitimate jurisdiction in this matter.
Orthodox jurisdictions such as the collective attendees of the International Symposium of Colloqui Dionisiani meeting in Calabria, Italy November, 2012 requested the immediate release by the government of FYR Macedonia of Archbishop Jovan. This request and many similar requests by various Orthodox Churches are based upon the unlawful interference of the Macedonian government in church affairs and the suppression of religious freedom.
The charge on which the Macedonian government has based its actions consists of unfounded charges of financial mismanagement by Archbishop Jovan. Additionally, these charges were bought before the Macedonian courts by a group of disgruntled clergy formerly of the Ohrid Archbishopric recognized as the “schismatic” Macedonian Orthodox Church
The Macedonian government is operating under an undisclosed motivation, namely persecution of a non-political religious entity, the seeking of monetary gain and unethical dominance for the schismatic and non-canonical Macedonian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Scholarios-Gennadius III, OSB; Protohierarch of the Œcumenical Canonical Orthodox Church Worldwide and the Orthodox Old Catholic Church join the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Moscow Patriarchate, the Church of Greece, the Holy Community of Mount Athos, the Standing Conference of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, and the Orthodox Church in America in petitioning the FYR Macedonia government for the release of Archbishop Jovan.
Additionally the Œcumenical Canonical Orthodox Church Worldwide and the Orthodox Old Catholic Church call on the International Court of Justice (World Court), the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the United Nations to intervene on behalf of Archbishop Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopj and in the recognition of complete and lawful religious freedom and humane treatment.