March 31, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

North Macedonia welcomes recognition by the Patriarchate of the Church of Ohrid

Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovachevski welcomed the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to recognize the Orthodox Church of North Macedonia as the Church of Ohrid.

On Monday, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, declared the North Macedonian Church, headed by Archbishop Stefan, canonical and valid throughout the Orthodox world, thereby establishing canonical and liturgical unity with it, and calling it “healing the wound of schism “.

At a meeting with Archbishop Stefan in Skopje on Tuesday, Kovachevski called the decision historic, noting that it was expected. He also congratulated Stephen on the fact that the patriarchate considers the hierarchy, clergy and people of the church under the leadership of Archbishop Stephen to be in Eucharistic communion, and that they are no longer at odds with the Orthodox world.

The statement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate notes that the Church of Ohrid does not use the name “Macedonia” or any of its derivatives. Now the Church of Serbia must resolve some administrative issues with the Church in North Macedonia.

The Orthodox Church of Skopje broke away from the Serbian Patriarchate in 1967, declaring itself the “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, which is not recognized by any other official Orthodox Church. In November 2009, the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” added the suffix “Ohrid Archdiocese” to its name, declaring itself the successor to the old Ohrid Archdiocese.

On Tuesday, the Holy Synod of North Macedonia thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for the decision. [АМНА]

The ROC condemned this decision, stating that “a gross and politically motivated intrusion into the Serbian Church is the recognition by Constantinople of the Ohrid Church.” Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, stated this to RIA Novosti on May 10.

The DECR secretary stressed that the ROC does not recognize decisions on the status of the church in North Macedonia taken without the participation of the Serbian Church.
“The position of the Russian Orthodox Church will, first of all, take into account the approaches to this problem of the Serbian Church, for which we still recognize exclusive canonical rights in North Macedonia,” Yakimchuk said.

In 2020, the head of the Synodal Information Department of the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Legoyda, assessed the reports about the decision of Bartholomew to repeat the Ukrainian scenario in Macedonia. He stated that Patriarch Bartholomew had decided put on stream serving political elites who use religion in their games.
According to the ROC, which is currently supported by the majority of Orthodox churches, there is a the only canonical Orthodox Church is the Archdiocese of Ohrid Serbian Church, headed by Archbishop John (Vranishkovsky).
The authorities of the Republic of North Macedonia refuse to register the Archdiocese of Ohrid, despite the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, but support the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” and asked the Phanar to grant it autocephaly.

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