|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Missionary Support|
The Archbishop Jovan Fund USA : A 21st Century Confessor
This is a Christ-loving appeal to help and support His Beatitude John Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje and his Archdiocese. The Archdiocese of Archbishop Jovan (John) is an Autonomous Orthodox Church and known as the Autonomous Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid and is the voice of Holy Orthodoxy within Macedonia FYROM and recognized as such by the entire Orthodox world. On 24th May 2005, on the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Archbishop Jovan was confirmed by His Holiness, Patriarch Pavel, the Archbishop of Pec and Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovtzy and Patriarch of Serbia, to be Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje in accordance with the Nis Agreement. On the same day, there was an announcement of the Patriarchal and the Assembly Tomos for Autonomy was granted for the Ohrid Archbishopric, the Chairman of whose Holy Synod of Bishops is he, himself. Click here for more information.
Archbishop Jovan is back in prison again as of 8 August, 2006 and remains until this hour.
A new fund has been set up to help and assist Archbishop Jovan and his Archdiocese of Ohrid: The Archbishop Jovan Fund. This fund has been organized as of April 10, 2006.
The Fund is a non-profit organization, and all donations should be sent to:
Archbishop Jovan Fund St. Herman BrotherhoodChecks and money orders payable to: The Archbishop Jovan Fund. A tax deduction report will be sent upon request.
The Archbishop Jovan Fund has the blessings of His Beatitude Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje. Also with the blessings of His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah, Presiding Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver, and Hieromonk Gerasim Abbot of St. Herman Brotherhood, Platina, California.
Board of Directors
May the great peace and joy of our Lord God always be with you!
Many of us may have heard about the plight and the struggles of the Orthodox Church within the Former Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), also known as Skopje, and its ruling Hierarch Archbishop Jovan.
On July 26, 2005, while fulfilling his Archpastoral duties, was arrested by the FYROM government and thrown into jail for the next 220 days. While he was in prison, he was denied visitors except his mother. He was not allowed to wear his cassock, cross or Panagia. All were take away! The Archbishop was also denied his Holy Bible. While the Archbishop was incarcerated, his father reposed in the Lord. In addition his passport was taken away two days before he went into jail and has still not been returned.
The manufactured charge against Archbishop Jovan was "embezzlement." In truth, though, he was arrested because of who he is: an Orthodox hierarch of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Ohrid and Skopje, and under the immense pressure of the local pseudo-hierarchs of the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church - FYROM. As it is well known, the Archbishop has not embezzled any funds whatsoever, since all of the E57, 000, together with the interest of E180, were timely handed over to the court in Veles, literally minutes after this was requested by Mr. Trifun Kostrovski through the media, and who later testified before the court that Archbishop Jovan is innocent. Based on his testimony, the Archbishop was twice liberated, and the third time, after a severe political pressure, he was sentenced to imprisonment.
At first they had confined the Archbishop Jovan for a few days, then they confined him for 30 days which he had served; their only goal was to frighten him. Realizing that they failed to do so, they convicted him to two and half year imprisonment. After he served 8 months of that "punishment," the Supreme Court of FYROM acquitted him under the great pressure of the international community. Now, they have changed their tactics, aiming to present him as if he was a criminal. They convicted him to one year imprisonment as if he was truly embezzling funds of the Church although he had been acquitted by the Court from these charges. Therefore on August 8, 2006, Archbishop Jovan voluntarily turned up in the prison at "Idrizovo." The Archbishop remains in prison up until this day.
In the politically motivated processes within FYROM, truth and justice have no value. Of course it is common knowledge within FYROM itself that their government is strongly opposed to His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan and his Autonomous Archdiocese of Ohrid. In addition, it is also public knowledge that the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) created and sponsored by the FYROM Government, is also opposed to Archbishop Jovan and His Autonomous Archdiocese of Ohrid. It goes without saying that they only legitimate representative of Holy Orthodoxy within FYROM itself is Archbishop Jovan and his church, exclusively recognized as such by the Patriarchate of Serbia and the entire Orthodox world. Thus, and despite the fact that the court proceeding was conducted at the request of the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church, which participated in developing an outrageous forgery in collaboration with the Public Prosecutor of Veles, Archbishop Jovan continues to be in prison today, even after the first trial and the already pronounced verdict of "rejection" (innocence).
The Archbishop and his Archdiocese have lost several of their local Orthodox churches and monasteries - all of which have been destroyed. The photos on the website of Archbishop Jovan and his church speak for themselves. Access: http://www. Poa-info.org and press English Version and then access photo. One shrine after another has been fully destroyed, including several old monasteries.
The Archbishop and those within his Archdiocese have had to serve all liturgical services in local basements and apartments of homes, and even outdoors when the weather permits. The Archbishop and his Archdiocese have been and continue to be deprived of proper food and medical care for their 50 monks and nuns. Nuns were harassed and their hair pulled as they were being dragged from their monastery which was subsequently destroyed. One local monastery abbot was temporally incarcerated. These monks and nuns now all have to live in private homes and have not been able to find private employment due to official intimidation.
Under these conditions, Archbishop Jovan continues to live his Holy Orthodox Faith with great dignity and with love for all, in prison at this hour. Our Lord, at times, allows for a select few of His flock to be persecuted so that the rest of us may be compelled to act on their behalf, or, most important, to prepare ourselves in the event that widespread persecution of the Orthodox faithful becomes a reality. Such is exactly the case with His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan. As mentioned above, keeping his word, he voluntarily appeared in the prison "Idrizovo" and is currently serving the one-year-long politically pronounced prison sentence, for the fabricated criminal act of fictitious "embezzlement."
Silence on the part of Orthodox brethren throughout the free world only brings further sufferings and great hardship for Archbishop Jovan, because at this hour his health is gravely poor. Although the Archdiocese of Archbishop Jovan still has two Ruling Orthodox Bishops, one can well imagine the pressure for the needs of the monks, the nuns, priests, and faithful. The monks, nuns, and priests, as well as the two bishops find it impossible to maintain a residence for themselves, given the tremendous pressure against them by the government. They struggle to provide for themselves even the necessities of life, such as food and decent living standards, not to mention items for their liturgical needs.
Thus, the support of Christ-loving friends from around the world is needed at this hour so that some means of hope and peace can be brought to the Venerable Archbishop Jovan and his Archdiocese. In cooperation with the St. Herman Brotherhood in Platina, California, a fund has been established to receive badly needed donations that can reach this Archdiocese through a private bank account. Such funds would enable provision of the bare necessities such as candles, incense and other liturgical needs, as well as flour, sugar, and potatoes. The Archbishop Jovan Fund USA can made a huge difference to provide these items, and thus necessary that the corresponding appeal be directed to all Christ-loving souls to help this Archdiocese in their desperate need at this hour. Donations should be sent to the following address:
Archbishop Jovan Fund St. Herman Brotherhood
Checks and money orders should be made payable to the Archbishop Jovan Fund. If the donors wish to have a receipt for their donation, it should be so indicated to the St. Herman Brotherhood.
Finally, the Archbishop and his Archdiocese are still being denied status as an official Orthodox religious institution; their appeals are being ignored. Help in this matter is through appeals from the Orthodox faithful from elsewhere in the world. These appeals from outside of FYROM should be directed to the Prime Minister of FYROM, and to the Embassy of the United States of America in Skopje, as follows:
U.S. Embassy Skopje Bul. Ilinden bb
At the same hour please humbly remember in your prayers: Archbishop Jovan and his Archdiocese.
Thank you and God bless you!
Live and love your Holy Orthodox Faith everyday!
Peace to your souls!
You're Ever-memorable Brothers in Christ our Lord,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who all pray for you!
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(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes