Patriarch Porfirije reportedly resuming dialogue with Macedonian church

Skopje, Macedonia, February 22, 2022

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According to one North Macedonian journalist and commentator on ecclesiastical issues, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije of the Serbian Orthodox Church has reached out to the head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) to resume the dialogue between the Churches.

Appearing on the debate show 360 Degrees, Marjan Nikolovski said that Pat. Porfirije sent a letter to Archbishop Stefan of Ohrid of the MOC around New Year’s, reports

In May 2019, the Serbian Council of Bishops resolved to resume negotiations on the resolution of the MOC’s status, though such negotiations never materialized.

According to Nikolovski, Pat. Porfirije proposed holding meetings at the primatial and Synodal level, “which hasn’t been characteristic so far.”

In its response, the MOC didn’t rule out the possibility of a meeting, but, as the journalist notes, the process of requesting the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s mediation has already begun, so the MOC will expect that such a meeting would take place through Constantinople’s mediation.

Patriarch Bartholomew has also written to Pat. Porfirije about a meeting in Instanbul, Nikolovski notes.

He also received a large delegation from the MOC in December to discuss the autocephaly process. MOC hierarchs have repeatedly expressed confidence that Pat. Bartholomew will grant them autocephaly.

Recall that the MOC separated from the Serbian Orthodox Church in the 1960s and has been considered schismatic by the Orthodox world ever since, although, unlike the situation in Ukraine where the canonical Church is the largest confession and the schismatics are divided amongst themsleves, the MOC unites the overwhelming majority of the North Macedonian population.

In late 2017, the MOC turned to the Bulgarian Church to help it become a canonical Orthodox Church. The Bulgarian Church agreed to help the MOC, which greatly angered the Churches of Serbia and Greece, and also the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but it clarified that it would not cause a schism within the Church over the issue.

After turning to the Bulgarian Church, the MOC then appealed to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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Alex2/23/2022 11:59 pm
Marek, what are you saying? That everyone who asks for autocephaly should receive it? If Orthodoxy adopted that as a general practice, then by the end of this century we would probably have over 100 tiny autocephalous Churches, as everyone who had some reason to dislike their current Synod asked for autocephaly and received it. It is true that Orthodoxy has never formalized any list of legitimate reasons for autocephaly. In other words, we have no canons or even rules saying what conditions need to be met in order for someone to receive autocephaly. It's all just a matter of opinion. And therefore, some people have the opinion that everyone who asks for autocephaly should receive it. But this would be an administrative disaster in practice.
Gjakon2/23/2022 7:41 pm
I would encourage the faithful to write to the MOC in order to show support for this dialogue and not to bow to pressure from Western Diplomats, which is most likely happening in real time. The website posted this news in a very cynical way. They are ecumenist website that very well may be funded by Open Society. The owner of the website (Marjan Nikolovski) is very pro EP.
Gjakon2/23/2022 6:53 pm
This sounds very hopeful. The Macedonians back in communion would be a very joyous day for Orthodoxy. My only concern is that the journalist that the article uses has been a very unreliable source over the years.
Editor2/23/2022 12:03 pm
Marek: "What the Moscow Patriarchate has steadfastly refused to do in Ukraine"--you are making the assumption often made that the MP "refuses" to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. This is a mistaken assumption. The canonical autonomous Ukrainian Church has not asked for autocephaly, for their own reasons. You can read more about this in our section on the Ukrainian church crisis here:
Marek Jakubowski2/23/2022 6:56 am
Good, it's outrageous that whole nations are outside the communion of the wider Church just because of nationalism and racism. (Serbia's, in this case.) Please God they'll have the integrity to do what the Moscow Patriarchate has steadfastly refused to do in Ukraine and the Georgians won't even consider doing in Abkhazia or Ossetia...
Alexandar2/23/2022 5:51 am
Very promising! The hierarchy of the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Archbishoprip of Ohrid were never defrocked, so it will be much easier to accept them and the ????????☦ 2.000.000 Orthodox population in Macedonia and throughout the Diaspora, into communion with the rest of the Orthodox Churches. Let's pray to God this happens so this injustice and big wound into the Orthodox Church to be solved by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew! The Ohrid Archbishoprip is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church, more than 1000 years old, it is even older by a few centuries than the Russian or Serbian Churches. Today's descendants of the Ohrid Archbishoprip, the faithful of Macedonia????????, for sure do not deserve to be a victim of their neighbors' un-churchly politics and its awful ungodly treatment by not recognising the already functioning MOC-OA as an autocephal Orthodox Church for around 100 years having eparchies and missions in Europe, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to the Slavic Macedonian Diaspora. The faithful of MOC-OA have never stopped communing on Mount Athos or in the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian etc.). A local alive Orthodox Church of Christ, the MOC-OA is being held purposefully in an artificial "schism" and under isolation only because of another's autocephal's Church claims backed up only on the ethnophyletistic and political claims and pretexts from the last century. We are supposed to be Christ's! Believing in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic (Orthodox) Church. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28 Let's conclude with a quote from a modern Orthodox Saint of the Church, St. John of Shanghai, who says that for our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church is not divided in "jurisdictions". May our Lord help the justice to be served and our sins forgiven. Amin!
Troy2/22/2022 4:43 pm
This is very promising! The hierarchy of the Macedonian Orthodox Church were never defrocked, so it will be much easier to accept them. I pray a meeting between His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, and His Beatitude Archbishop Stefan will occur soon!
Menas2/22/2022 2:36 pm
Hopefully this issue is resolved with the MOC, unless the schismatics with the OCU the Macedonian schismatics are actually validly ordained and not laymen.
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