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St. Jovan Macedonian
Orthodox Church, Ohrid

A Serbian Orthodox bishop, who had been conducting meetings in homes in Macedonia, has been sentenced to eighteen months in prison for "inciting ethnic and religious hatred, discord and intolerance." According to BosNewsLife, this sentence of Bishop Jovan is seen part of a continuing conflict between the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church. In 1967, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which was accused of having ties to the communist government at the time, claimed autonomy as a separate Orthodox Church. The Serbian Orthodox Church continues to claim ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Macedonia.

In July 2003, Bishop Jovan was given a suspended sentence for conducting a baptism, on the condition that he not commit any further "offenses." The present charges stem from a police raid in January on a home where Jovan was holding mass with monks and nuns.

Pray that freedom of religion will be upheld for all people in Macedonia. Pray that this dispute between the Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox Churches will be resolved and that the words of Psalm 133 will become evident in the region.

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