Constantinople, September 11, 2018
The Ecumenical Patriarchate addressed the issue of the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church at its recent Synaxis of Hierarchs, held in Constantinople from September 1-4.
His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew responded to the request for recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church with a categorical “no,” as long as the Church title contains the name “Macedonia” or any derivate thereof, reports Romfea.
The Macedonian Church, which formed as a schism form the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967, reached out to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in November for assistance in becoming a canonically-recognized autocephalous Church. The Bulgarian Church agreed to help, which greatly angered the Churches of Serbia and Greece, and also the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
However, the Bulgarian Church has repeatedly affirmed that it will not cause a schism in the Orthodox world over the Macedonian issue.
The Macedonian church then appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well for the regularization of its canonical status, to which it responded that it would take up the issue and take appropriate measures “under the essential conditions of the observance of the historical-canonical powers and privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
Pat. Bartholomew stressed his opposition to the use of the title “Macedonian” in his introductory speech to the Synaxis of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne on September 1, addressed in particular to the metropolitans of Macedonia and Thrace who, though bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, also participate in the Constantinopolitan Synaxis of Hierarchs.
The Ecumenical Patriarch said in particular, “I ask my brothers who serve in Macedonia [meaning the Macedonian region of Greece—O.C.] to transfer my patriarchal message to their flock.”
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