Istanbul, May 9, 2022
According to a statement from the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople today, the hierarchs resolved to enter into communion with the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC), which began as a schism from the Serbian Church in 1967 and has been out of communion with the entire Orthodox world ever since.
The decision comes just three days after it was publicly revealed that a Serbian delegation, including His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, had recently held a productive meeting with a Macedonian delegation. According to His Grace Bishop Fotije of Zvornik and Tuzla, the MOC could return to canonical unity with the Serbian Church as early as the latter’s Council of Bishops this month, 20 years after the Niš Agreement failed to resolve the issue.
According to the new statement, Constantinople accepts the hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the MOC into communion under the name of “Ohrid,” thus “healing the wound of schism.” According to Constantinople, its canonical territory is limited to the state of North Macedonia, although the MOC has dioceses and hierarchs in North America, Europe, and Australia. The word “Macedonia” or any variation of it may not be used in the name of the Church.
According to the statement, it is now up to the Serbian Church to settle the administrative issues between it and the MOC. The MOC was recognized as an autonomous Church within the Serbian Church before it departed into schism.