Sofia, December 22, 2017
A meeting between representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church was held in Sofia yesterday, reports the site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The meeting marks the beginning of the talks concerning the canonical status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church after it appealed to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to accept it as its “Mother Church” and to help restore it to canonical communion. The Bulgarian Holy Synod resolved on November 27 to do all it could to help the Macedonians normalize their canonical decision.
By decision of the Bulgarian Holy Synod on December 15, its committee on the matter consists of Metropolitan Cyprian of Stara Zagora (committee chairman), Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech, Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv, Metropolitan John of Varna and Veliki Preslav, Metropolitan Seraphim of Nevrokop, and Metropolitan Gregory of Vratsa.
The Macedonian committee consists of Archbishop Stephan of Macedonia, Metropolitan Peter of Prespa-Pelagoniski, Metropolitan Timothy of Dobarsko- Kičevo, and Bishop Clement of Heracles.
The committee members “discussed the situation surrounding the Macedonian Orthodox Church and its canonical status, with brotherly love in Christ, and with unanimous good will and fraternal relations drew up an action to implement the November 27, 2017 decision of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.”
The situation regarding the Macedonian Church is complicated by the fact that it came into existence by schisming from the Serbian Orthodox Church, and thus the normal canonical procedure would be to return to the Serbian Church. Moreover, the Serbian Church has one canonical bishop, Archbishop Jovan (Vraniskovski) of Ohrid serving in Macedonia. He has endured many years of persecution there for his fidelity to the Serbian Church.