Skopje, North Macedonia, January 14, 2021
The Patriarchate of Constantinople acts as though it is above the conciliar nature of the Church and is thereby attacking and destroying Church unity, says the Archdiocese of Ohrid of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
“Throughout its rich history, the Church has faced many challenges and countless problems,” reads the prologue to the Archdiocese’s calendar for 2021.
“In our time, unfortunately, we are witness to attempts to undermine the unity of the One, Catholic Orthodox Church. Namely, the primatial Local Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has placed itself above the conciliar character of the Church and takes for granted not only the right to be first in honor, which, of course, no one disputes, but also first in absolute power—a right that has not been given it by the conciliar fullness of the Church,” the prologue continues.
The prologue also emphasizes that the unilateral decision of Constantinople
to accept several ignorant schismatic organizations from Ukraine into liturgical concelebration, and without the consent of the local canonical Church and without pan-Orthodox consent on such a decision, obviously did not provide the desired solution to the schism. On the contrary, such an anti-canonical act of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has provoked sharp opposition from other Local Orthodox Churches, opposition that not only does not subside, but also becomes more pronounced.
At the same time, the COVID pandemic further complicates the life of the Church, as “the prescribed measures do not coincide with the natural life of Christians.”
Despite the current trials and tribulations facing the Church, and the world’s departure from the Wisdom of God, the Ohrid Archdiocese assures that the Church will overcome all difficulties precisely by the Wisdom of God, the prologue concludes.
His Eminence Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, a canonical hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North Macedonia, where the vast majority belong to the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church,” has addressed issues of Church unity and Constantinople’s self-serving actions several times before.
In September 2018, His Eminence condemned the heresy of ethnophyletism, which continues to fuel schisms in the Church, and emphasized the need for a new pan-Orthodox council to deal with the problem of schismatics. Schisms cannot be healed simply by creating another schism, he says, which is precisely what Constantinople is attempting to do.
Unfortunately, Patriarch Bartholomew stubbornly refuses to convene a council that would work to defend Church unity.
The issue of schisms is especially acute for Abp. Jovan, as he has personally suffered false imprisonment at the hands of the Macedonian schismatics after he left their organization and joined the canonical Serbian Church. Now, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is dabbling in the Serbian-Macedonian issue, and, as Abp. Jovan said in August 2019, “after what happened in Ukraine, anything can be expected” from Constantinople.