Jerusalem, September 26, 2022
The Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric continues its journey towards full acceptance in the Orthodox world after it recently received a tomos of autocephaly from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Over the past week, one Macedonian hierarch and several clerics have also concelebrated with hierarchs and clerics from a number of other Local Orthodox Churches, thus implicitly establishing their communion with them as well.
First, the famous Bigorsky Monastery in North Macedonia was visited by a hierarch of the Albanian Orthodox Church.
His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Apollonia and Fier and his fellow travelers were warmly received at the monastery by its abbot, His Grace Bishop Partenij of Atanije, and the brotherhood last Monday. The guests were given a tour of the church and monastery grounds, and had the opportunity to discuss current topics in Orthodoxy, the monastery reports.
Met. Nicholas wrote in the monastery guest book: “May the Holy Spirit, Who enlightens every person who comes into this world, enlighten and give strength to the brethren who pray and strive in this holy monastery. With blessings and love in Christ, Metropolitan Nicholas of Apollonia and Fier Nicholas.”
With the Albanian hierarch there was no liturgical concelebration, and there has been no announcement from the Albanian Church about recognition of the Macedonian Church, but some outlets write that the visit is at least a first step on the way to restoring relations.
Bp. Partenij and several of the Bigorsky brothers then left for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where they were blessed to meet with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos on Thursday, who blessed them to celebrate the Divine services at the holy sites in Jerusalem.
The Patriarch expressed his joy that the Macedonian Church is now in canonical and liturgical unity with the Orthodox Church following the recent decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Serbian Orthodox Church, thus signifying his Patriarchate’s communion with the Macedonian Church.
With the Patriarch’s blessing, Bp. Partenij and the Bigorsky hieromonks celebrated the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy in the chapel of Golgotha in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre together with His Eminence Archbishop Aristobulous of Madaba of the Jerusalem Patriarchate and several other clerics from Jerusalem, Greece, and Romania.
The concelebration of Romanian clerics is significant as the first indication of their liturgical communion with the Macedonian Church.
The Macedonian delegation was then invited to celebrate the Liturgy at the Tomb of the Most Holy Theotokos in Gethsemane with the Jerusalem hierarch His Eminence Metropolitan Joachim of Hellenoupolis and a number of local Jerusalem clerics and visiting Serbian clerics.
And yesterday, Bp. Partenij and the Macedonian delegation had the great honor of serving the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy in the main church of the Holy Sepulchre, concelebrating with His Eminence Metropolitan Isidoros of Hierapolis of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Nevrokop of the Bulgarian Church, and His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Serdobsk of the Russian Church, and priests from several Local Orthodox Churches.
This is the first time that any Macedonian hierarch has concelebrated with Bulgarian and Russian hierarchs since the decisions of their respective Churches.
According to the Macedonian outlet religija.mk, Ukrainian Orthodox priests also concelebrated with the Macedonian delegation.