By Nikos Fragopoulos of Skopje News
The so-called “Macedonian Orthodox Church” asked the Patriarchate of Bulgaria to become its Mother Church after recognizing its autocracy.
The Holy Synod of the so-called “Macedonian Orthodox Church” sent a letter on 9 November, in which, inter alia, there is talk of “restoring eucharistic unity” among the orthodox churches of the two countries.
This letter was made public only yesterday and is on the headlines of news in FYROM, and it has also been widely publicized in Bulgaria.
The so-called “Macedonian Orthodox Church” states in its letter to the Bulgarian Patriarchate that in the event of an agreement, the latter will be able to represent the Church of fYROMacedonia before the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Churches.
The Orthodox Church of fYROMacedonia was seceded in 1967 by the Serbian Orthodox Church has self-proclaimed its independence with the name “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, which is not recognized by any Orthodox Church in the world.
All attempts to find a compromise solution between the Orthodox churches of Serbia and fYROMacedonia have failed.
Analysts in Skopje believe that the request of the so-called “Macedonian Orthodox Church” to the Bulgarian Patriarchate to become its Mother Church is an attempt of the first to come out of the isolation that it has been for decades after its separation from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The same analysts point out that if the Bulgarian Patriarchate accepts the request of the Orthodox Church of fYROMacedonia, it will come into conflict with the Serbian Orthodox Church and cause turbulence within Orthodox churches around the world, which have agreed that any decisions on the recognition of new orthodox churches would be taken by consensus.
Finally, analysts note that the action of the fYROMacedonia Orthodox Church to address the Bulgarian Patriarchate, asking it to become its Mother Church, may also be related to the improvement of political relations between the two countries and the signing, on 1 August, of an agreement of friendship, good neighbourliness and cooperation between FYROM and Bulgaria, which is expected to be ratified by the parliaments of the two countries in the coming period.
The controversy with the Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid
The so-called “Macedonian Orthodox Church” includes a large percentage of Orthodox believers in the country, the “rival” of which is the Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid, which belongs to the Serbian Patriarchate and is headed by Archbishop Ioannis. The influence of the Archbishopric of Ohrid in fYROMacedonia is limited, as it is not recognized by the authorities of the country, while its leader has been persecuted repeatedly and imprisoned. Ioannis was released in early 2015 after an intermediation of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Prosecutions against the Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid and its head by the fYROMacedonia authorities have been criticized by international organizations and by the State Department in its human rights reports in the country.
Moreover, a few days ago, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favour of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), in its appeal against fYROMacedonia, on the Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid.
According to a SPC statement, the court, on 16 November, ruled that ” fYROMacedonia, in refusing to register the Ohrid Archbishopric as an Orthodox religious community, violated Article 11 of the European Declaration of Human Rights”.
The court ordered fYROMacedonia to pay 9,500 euro as compensation to the Archbishopric of Ohrid./IBNA