Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid: Serbian-Macedonian Church reunion is the greatest spiritual joy

Belgrade, May 20, 2022

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Yesterday’s reconciliation Liturgy between the primates and hierarchs of the Serbian and Macedonian Churches was a great event of the highest joy, His Eminence Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid exclaimed in his words to the gathered faithful.

“I don’t know when my joy was greater: when I received the tomos on the autonomy of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric from Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory, or today when full liturgical communion is established with all archbishops, clergy, and faithful people of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric,” Abp. Jovan said.

“If I had to choose, I would prefer today’s joy, because today at this Eucharistic communion a complete Eucharistic communion has been achieved with those brothers with whom we have not been in Eucharistic communion until today. Therefore, as on Paschal, let us sing the famous verse from Psalm 117:24: This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” the hierarch joyously exclaimed.

Abp. Jovan was once a hierarch of the Macedonian Church while it was still in schism, but in 2002, while the rest of the Macedonian Church ultimately rejected the Niš Agreement that would have seen it return to autonomy within the Serbian Patriarchate at that time, he resolved to reunite with the Serbian Church. The Serbian Church then established its canonical Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric and elected Abp. Jovan its ruling hierarch.

He then faced serious persecution from the state, being imprisoned for many years on trumped-up charges of “inciting national, racial and religious hatred, schism and intolerance.” At times he was placed in solitary confinement, and he was allowed few visitors from the Serbian Church. He was ultimately released from prison on February 2, 2015, although new proceedings against him began soon afterwards.

According to, Abp. Jovan has agreed to retire for the sake of Church unity and due to poor health, which was exacerbated by many years of imprisonment. The other hierarchs who served with Abp. Jovan will reportedly be given administration of a monastery or dioceses in North Macedonia. Thus, there won’t be overlapping dioceses within the state of North Macedonia.

God is one, the Church is one, and the Eucharist is one, Abp. Jovan explained at yesterday’s Liturgy, and, “Therefore, when entering into Eucharistic communion with the Serbian Orthodox Church, all the sacred Mysteries and prayer services that were celebrated in the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric all this time until it was in unity with the Serbian Orthodox Church, and through it all the Orthodox Churches, are recognized retroactively.”

The hierarchs of the Macedonian Church deserve recognition and respect for “withstanding unreasonable and anti-Church pressure” in North Macedonia, believes Vladyka Jovan.

Likewise, the hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful who served and labored in the Archdiocese under Abp. Jovan are also deserving of respect and honor. “All of them endured not only difficult conditions for worship, but also difficult conditions of existence, under the threat of persecution and imprisonment, but when that sacrifice was for the unity of the Church, they gladly endured it. That’s why I can’t but thank them, because it’s precisely because of their 25-year sacrifice that we have reached unity today,” the Archbishop affirmed.

He also specifically thanks His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije and His Eminence Archbishop Stefan, “the first because he showed good will and great perseverance to finally solve the problem of schism, and the second because he showed readiness for personal sacrifice to bear the gossip of non-Church people in the Republic of North Macedonia.”

Abp. Jovan concludes with the joyous exclamation: “Unity is established! May God bless it, and may we have responsibility as something that is most important in the Church, to preserve unity and never repeat such a meaningless schism in the Serbian Orthodox Church and the entire Orthodox Church.”

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Greisha6/11/2022 4:54 am
Why can't there just be a joyous celebration of reunion and love? Everyone seems to have a political agenda or a superiority complex. Instead of following the Lord's wishes "that they may all be one," the local churches argue that they may be one only under their conditions. That our separated brethren want to come home should be seen as a blessing instead of a territorial dispute.
priest Ambrose5/27/2022 4:03 am
What a joy! @Lazar Once our primates take Communion from the same Cup, what clear sign can be for the laymen to follow? Look how many laymen there!
Lazar5/24/2022 1:28 am
After the reconciliation of the SPC and the MPC, does it mean we can go to the MPC as canonical laymen, or we need a further announcement from their bishops in their mother church or diaspora churches? Thank you.
Editor5/21/2022 12:37 pm
George: No, this is not a Greek hate site. This site doesn't hate anyone, it only tries to publish news. We try not to open comments that express hate for other people. And we rejoice in this peaceful reunion of the Serbian Church and the North Macedonian Orthodox. Glory to God!
George5/21/2022 12:21 pm
Is this a Greek hate site. I love the Russian people and have many friendships with them. They love Greek people but this website sure woke me up with the people.that come here. Any one in power gets corrupted most of the time. Only few are saints. Wow I guess the devil had it easy turning all of us against each other. There is only one church and Jesus is the head. Where one church. Don't let Satan divide us. Be humble. Be meek. Love each other. Its the only way. Let the top fight for power and territory. Like we are cattle to be milked. Only the meek will survive.
Midwest5/21/2022 4:19 am
See Part 1/2 of the Open Letter in previous message. Part 2/2 Open letter of Bishop Macaire, Metropolitan of Sidirokastro to the Serbian Patriarchate and the Church in the Republic of North Macedonia May 18, 2022 2. With the communiqués-decisions of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Serbia, the mentioned Archdiocese of Ohrid is able to strengthen itself with the well-known secular-political irredentism and ecclesiastical irredentism at the same time. That is, to be able to identify itself as the Macedonian Church, while the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in turn, has ensured the possibility of reviving a part of the autonomous archdiocese of Ohrid with the clause of limitation to the borders of the State of North Macedonia and with the specific name of Archdiocese of Ohrid. In this regard, it should be noted that if the Patriarchate of Serbia violates the condition set by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to limit the Church of Ohrid to the borders of the State of North Macedonia, it will take upon itself the ecclesiastical irredentism of the Church of Skopje, which will seek to obtain its original 32 dioceses, and then its subsequent 23 dioceses, within the canonical territory of the Serbian Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, acting wisely in the face of the tragedy of out-of-border ecclesiastical jurisdictions, has deprived both the new Church of Ukraine and the Archdiocese of Ohrid of the possibility of pastorally caring for their diasporas in order to avoid further problems, which the Patriarchate of Serbia allows. If the Ecumenical Patriarchate had intended to include this fundamental clause in the tomos (charters) of Autocephaly that it has granted so far, the problem of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions outside the borders (of the countries of Orthodox traditions), would obviously have been minimal. From the above, it can be concluded that the Serbian Galleon, attached to the stern of the Russian flagship, is entering the dangerous waters of ecclesiastical irredentism, forming inhospitable and demonic reefs and barriers to impede the good course of the Orthodox Church. Being irretrievably and ineffectively hitched to the chariot of panslavism, according to the spiritual law at the end of the journey, they (the Serbs) will receive the just reward due to each matricide. However, because those of us "who live in Jerusalem", knowing people and things and that an autocephalous Church can often be led to chaos by the impetuous positions of some, and making use of my episcopal responsibility and the pastoral care of the clergy and people of the historical metropolis of Siderokastro (the ancient metropolis of Melenikos and Siderokastro, which we never thought of claiming after 1913 for all of the above reasons) keeping the promise I made in my ministry to protect the reasonable sheep from the wolves in sheep's clothing, and to protect the historical rights of the Macedonian land, which I have served body and soul for 21 years, I vehemently protest against His Excellency the Bishop of Backa, Msgr. Irenée Bulovic the architect of these machinations of the evil one against the Nation and its Holy Source, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and I urge my fellow bishops in Macedonia to do the same. Finally, I respectfully ask their Beatitudes the Patriarchs of Russia and Serbia, in a spirit of love, humility and reconciliation "in secret", without this being considered the advice of a younger and inexperienced bishop, to contact the Sacred Center of the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, for the resolution of these thorny issues. Our faith and the teachings of our risen Savior dictate that "everything must be done with decency and order" and that "he who humbles himself will be exalted." "Love casts out fear." With Easter greetings, respect and love, + Macarius Metropolitan of Siderokastro " Source :
Midwest5/21/2022 4:17 am
For information. Part 1/2 Open letter of Bishop Macaire, Metropolitan of Sidirokastro to the Serbian Patriarchate and the Church in the Republic of North Macedonia May 18, 2022 Archbishop Macaire, Metropolitan of Sidirokastro, has sent a strongly worded letter to the Serbian Patriarchate and the Church in the Republic of North Macedonia regarding the communiqué of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church, where the name "Macedonian Church" is mentioned. In his letter, Bishop Macaire directly accuses Bishop Irenaeus Bulovic of Bačka (Patriarchate of Serbia), who received his education and training as a monk in Greece and in his Church, of being the main architect of these "devious machinations" regarding the name of the Church in North Macedonia and his actions against the mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. "Open letter of His Eminence Bishop Macaire, Metropolitan of Siderokastro, to the Church of Serbia and the Church of North Macedonia Dear Brother Bishops and Brother Presbyters, Holy Brothers, Christ is risen! The May 16 communiqué of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Serbia appeared to its readers and "the inhabitants of Jerusalem" as a thunderclap in the firmament of the Orthodox Church. And this is because what it implies and hides is more dangerous than what it mentions. 1. Specifically, the communiqué skilfully overlooks the restoration of the liturgical communion of the Church of the new State of North Macedonia with the Orthodox Churches, which was restored by the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of 9 May 2022. The inalienable right of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to declare parts of its canonical jurisdiction as Autocephalous or Autonomous Churches is implicitly but clearly forgotten, forgetting that the proclaimed Autocephalous Churches, with the exception of the ancient Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus, are derivatives of it. Indeed, they need a canonical confirmation of their autocephaly by an Ecumenical Council. That is to say, the Church of Serbia is giving away something that does not unequivocally belong to it and that, if it could, it should have done so all these years of schism and discord with the "Church of Skopje". In other words, she has allowed a schism to creep into the Orthodox Church, a schism whose wounds take a long time to heal, thus hurting the whole body and credibility of the Orthodox Church. See Part 2/2 of the Open Letter in the following message. Source :
Troy5/20/2022 10:48 pm
Menas: No one was “scheming” to ruin this. The Macedonian Orthodox Church appealed to both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Serbian Orthodox Church for help, and the EP had been studying the situation since at least 2018. At the Reconciliation Liturgy, His Beatitude Archbishop Stephan of Ohrid actually thanked His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for entering into communion with the MOC-OA.
Menas 5/20/2022 5:29 pm
Is it true the Greeks and EP are scheming behind the scenes to ruin this?
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