05/22/2012 Macedonia (BosNewsLife) – Macedonian security forces have detained 17 monks, nuns and other believers on tax evasion charges as part of a fresh crackdown on the Serbian Orthodox Church in Macedonia, representatives and investigators told BosNewsLife Tuesday, May 22.
They were captured after police entered several monasteries and homes of church members, who fall under the responsibility of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s “Ohrid Archbishopric” in Macedonia, said Centar 9, or ‘Center 9’ in English, a major Balkan religious rights watchdog.
“Prosecution of monks, nuns and believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Macedonia continues,” Center 9 General Secretary Drasko Djenovic told BosNewsLife. “[It is] the situation in that ex-Yugoslav state,” he said.
The raid reportedly began early Monday, May 21, when police in the eastern Macedonian town of Stip “was looking to arrest Bishop Marko of Bregalnica” area but he was not present as he attended the spring session of the Serbian Orthodox Church Synod in Belgrade, Serbia, according to investigators. However a nun, identified as Pelagija, was said to have been detained in that raid.
Elsewhere, in Macedonia’s capital Skopje, police entered a monastery of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God looking for Bishop David of the ancient town of Stobi, Center 9 added.