Skopje, North Macedonia, September 1, 2022
The hierarchs of the newly autocephalous Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric (MOC) intend to meet with the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s own Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric (OOA) in the near future to discuss their integration into the MOC.
At their Synod session on August 30, the MOC hierarchs “made a decision that we should sit at the same table with the bishops from the OOA and talk face to face,” His Eminence Metropolitan Petar of Prespa told plusinfo.mk.
“I assure you that it will be soon,” the Metropolitan added.
Recall that the Serbian and Macedonian Churches repaired their canonical relationship earlier this year after decades of schism and the Serbian Church granted full autocephaly to the MOC soon thereafter. At the same time, the SOC has had bishops operating in North Macedonia since 2002, when His Eminence Metropolitan Jovan of Ohrid was the sole MOC hierarch to uphold an attempted reunion. The Serbian Church’s OOA has four bishop today, whose canonical territory now belongs to the autocephalous MOC.
“We know very well that the Serbian Orthodox Church established the OOA on our territory, but the same SOC has now granted us autocephaly, and with that the functioning of the OOA is abolished. Now the only question is how the bishops from the OOA will be integrated into our Church. I think it’s completely understandable that that integration must be in agreement with them,” Met. Petar explained.
According to the Macedonian hierarch, “anything is possible,” including that Met. Jovan could be sent into retirement. In return, he could be offered to head up the MOC’s Department of Education. There’s also talk that two other bishops will be sent to monasteries as auxiliary bishops, and the fourth could head up a Serbian Church representation in Skopje.
For its part, the OOA said that it hasn’t yet received any official invitation to hold discussions.