The Ecumenical Patriarchate launched a solution to the ecclesiastical issue of Northern Macedonia, satisfying the request of Archbishop Stefanos and the state authorities of the country for the restoration of the local Church to normalcy and the Eucharistic communion.
< p>The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, chaired by Bartholomew, decided on Monday to remove the long-standing rift with the Archdiocese of Ohrid, “meaning within its jurisdiction only within the borders of the state of Northern Macedonia. refers to the decision.
This is the case of the Orthodox Church in the territory of present-day Northern Macedonia, which in 1967, with the encouragement of the then political authorities, seceded from the Serbian Patriarchate, where it belonged until then, self-proclaimed in the “Macedonian Orthodox Church”.
The same decision clarifies that the settlement of the outstanding administrative issues between Belgrade and Skopje, ie the boundaries between them, as well as the administrative form that the Church of Ohrid will have in the future, is an issue to be settled by its Patriarchate. Serbia.
'No' to autocephaly
The movement, which has been described as historic in northern Macedonia, puts an end to almost seven decades of isolation. Church from much of the rest of the Orthodox world.
But this does not mean that the Church of Ohrid has received for decades what it wanted, normal self-determination or independence. If requested, the final approval of the request will be made by the “Mother Church”, ie the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as the granting of autocephaly is the exclusive privilege and ecclesiastical competence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate alone.
Welcoming the development, the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia wrote on Facebook that “although this act does not mean the resolution of the final status and the name, the most important step has been taken. “Now our Orthodox Church is in unity with all the Orthodox Churches, so this day is historic, after seven decades of complete isolation.”
Where is the Patriarchate of Istanbul p>
The “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, by far the largest religious community in the country, seceded from the Serbian Church in the 1960s, but its ecclesiastical independence was never recognized by the rest of the Orthodox world because the much stronger Serbian Church prevented it. p>
For decades, several attempts were made to overcome the conflict, but failed.
In its first reaction, Moscow responded somewhat coldly: “The Russian Orthodox Church continues to recognize the normal rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church in northern Macedonia,” said Igor Yakim, secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate. Sputnik.
However, Skopje professor and former chairman of the Northern Macedonia Committee on Religious Affairs, Cane Mojanoski, told the Focus newspaper that the move seemed to make progress on the independence of the Ohrid Church.
“This is the first step. The Serbian Church is expected to inform Istanbul later that the dioceses in Macedonia are politically united under a separate church. “After that, the Church of Ohrid should receive an ecclesiastical decree on independence,” Mojanoski said.
But will that happen?
The truth is that, with its decision, the Ecumenical Patriarchate avoids interfering within the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate, facilitates the ecclesiastical Belgrade-Skopje dialogue, but delimits in advance its possible consequences, both in terms of name and jurisdiction. of the Orthodox Church in Northern Macedonia, as well as mainly in terms of its future status. can only come from a decision of the same.
All this, however, can not be fully interpreted without reference to the fears of possible decisions of Belgrade with the encouragement of Moscow to bypass the Lantern.
However, in an interview with DC News, the author and respected journalist Dan Diachir spoke of a “blow” to Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill.
“In my opinion, the recognition of the Church of Macedonia is a blow to the Serbian Church, because it was considered a schismatic church. “The blow to the Serbian Church is being dealt first and foremost by Patriarch Kirill and Putin.” which was not pan-Orthodox, because the churches that did not participate were the Russian Church and the Serbian Church. “As time goes on, I do not think that the attitude of the Russian Patriarchate will be without consequences, because as Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet Union, I have the impression that the Russian Church would like to have more influence.