Patriarchal Letter to the Prime Minister of FYROM Mr. Vlado Buckovski.

Prot. No. 799

While we were in the process of resolving a peaceful way for our Holy and Great Church of Christ to mediate between the Holy Churches of Serbia and Skopje that are in a dispute and as we were coming to a conclusion of this matter, the arrest and imprisonment of His Eminence Metropolitan John, which received great attention from the Mass Media, has deeply saddened and puzzled us.

We are of the opinion that in inter-ecclesial issues of such grave importance that self-restraint, the study of the problem in the spirit of the Gospel and with Christian-like patience, and peaceful dialogue should prevail.  This is due to the fact that the Church cannot justify in any case adopting worldly means in her administration and in this way being exposed to the whole of the Ecclesiastical body.

Since we have ascertained from our personal meeting with you that you indeed honestly wish for the settling of this ecclesiastical issue according to unchangeable Canon Law of the Orthodox Church, we would like to ask paternally Your Excellency to give counsel to Their Eminences the Hierarchs to return to the table of negotiations with the Holy Church of Serbia, stating that our Modesty is always willing to assist and intercede in the peaceful resolution of this problem that has greatly saddened the entire body of the Local Orthodox Churches.

In addition, as a demonstration of good will, we encourage Your beloved Excellency to order the immediate release of His Eminence John from prison, since the impression that has been formed abroad about the infringement of human rights in your country, as we have witnessed, is very unfavourable and works against your international relations, especially in view of your country’s aspiring accession to the European Union.     

Thus, invoking the abundant grace and enlightenment of God upon the prime ministerial work of Your Excellency, we remain with deep love in the Lord and every esteem. 

11 August 2005
Your Excellency’s
fervent supplicant before God,
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople

His Excellency
Mr. Vlado Buckovski
Prime Minister of FYROM,
In Skopje.