Sasa Bogdanovic, the Mayor of Skopje’s Centar municipality, finally responded after being called out for days because of the lavish wedding he had in the Gracanica monastery in Kosovo.

Wedding celebrations are banned in Macedonia to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but the border with Kosovo is open, and Bogdanovic held his party in the Serbian enclave, in the company of Serbian media, politicians and clerics – and apparently a medieval knight. Pictures show that only a few people wore masks.

We only had a church ceremony and we respected all protocols to the maximum degree, as they were given to us by the church and the organizers. We only had a minimum number of people at the wedding, Bogdanovic insisted.

It was one of the two weddings by Macedonian politicians over the weekend, held in a foreign country to skirt the restrictions.

Bogdanovic’s wedding was also notable for the comments he and other guests made, that he was unable to hold it in Macedonia due to the religious dispute between the two countries. The Serbian Orthodox Church stands in the way of the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and as a result Macedonia, which normally allows the free operation of churches, has also imposed restrictions on the Serbian church, although it does operate a number of shrines. Zoran Vraniskovski, the former Macedonian church bishop, who has joined the Serbian church, was present at the wedding in Gracanica.