Russian and Macedonian hierarchs concelebrate for first time since MOC autocephaly

Lesnovo, North Macedonia, January 16, 2023

Met. Ilarion (MOC, left), Abp. Stefan (MOC, center), Met. Anthony (ROC, right). Photo: Met. Ilarion (MOC, left), Abp. Stefan (MOC, center), Met. Anthony (ROC, right). Photo:     

Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric celebrated the Divine Liturgy in North Macedonia last week, marking the first concelebration between hierarchs of the two Churches since the MOC received autocephaly in June, which was formally recognized by the Russian Holy Synod in August.

On January 12, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, head of the ROC’s Department for External Church Relations, visited the famous Lesnovo Monastery in North Macedonia for the feast of St. Gabriel of Mt. Athos, Bishop of Velić, who is highly venerated in the monastery.

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The service was led by the primate of the MOC, His Eminence Archbishop Stefan of Ohrid, with His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Bregalinca (MOC), joined by Met. Anthony and the Russian delegation, clerics of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and local Macedonian clergy, reports the ROC DECR.

In his sermon, Abp. Stefan emphasized that this was the first ROC-MOC hierarchical concelebration since 1962, when His Holiness Patriarch Alexei I of Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch German of Serbia, and His Eminence Archbishop Dosithey of Macedonia concelebrated in Ohrid.

Abp. Stefan welcomed Met. Anthony and the Russian delegation

to the country from which Slavic writing was transferred to Russia more than 1100 years ago, to the country of churches, the country of monasteries, the country of crosses, the country to which numerous Russian monks arrived and found refuge more than 100 years ago, fleeing from Bolshevik persecution, to the country where the great Russian and pan-Orthodox holy hierarch—St. John of Shanghai—lived, a country small in territory but great in history, to a country whose ecclesiastical autocephaly has just been re-granted, but whose ecclesiastical history is ancient.

After the service, the hierarchs and clergy venerated the relics of St. Gabriel that rest in the Lesnovo Monastery’s Archangel Michael Church.

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During their time in North Macedonia, the ROC delegation also had the chance to visit the churches and monasteries of Skopje.

Abp. Stefan of Ohrid also had a phone conversation with Pat. Kirill on January 12, expressing his gratitude for the ROC’s recognition of MOC autocephaly and for the visit of the ROC delegation.

In turn, Pat. Kirill spoke about the love that the ROC traditionally feels for their Orthodox brethren in North Macedonia, and asked the MOC primate to pray for the ROC in these difficult times.

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Александар Македонски1/19/2023 11:43 pm
I invite everyone who is sincerely interested in the Macedonian matter to read the doctorate thesis of Tome Boshevski and Aristotel Tentov. The PDF is available online in English, just type their names on Google and you will find it. It deciphers the middle text of the Rosetta Stone proving in an unambiguous way that antic Macedonians spoke the same language as current Macedonians ie Macedonian Slavic language. Cyril and Method were native Macedonians from Solun, and Church Slavonic is originally a dialect from Solun. Olga and most probably Vladimir too were baptised in Ohrid by Macedonians and the future clergy of Russia was certainly educated in st Clement's theological University in Ohrid. Following the ottoman invasion and after centuries of reproduction by Russian natives Church Slavonic became closer to the russian dialect. Act 16/6-10 The Macedonian Call 6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a Macedonian was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul[c] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 2 Corinthians 8/1-5 Encouragement to Give Generously 8 We want you to know, brothers,[a] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor[b] of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Philippians 4:15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 1 Thessalonians 1:8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.
Peter C.1/19/2023 5:15 pm
I never said that the Serbs existed when Cyril and Methodius evangelized the Slavs, probably the emperor called them Carinthians. The name is not really important, the Serbian Church could be called the Carinthian Church or the Yugoslav Church and nothing would change, it would still be the same church founded by Cyril and Methodius. They could even call themselves Dalmatians, would that be a mistake? Many conquering peoples adopted the name of the conquered land.
Alex1/19/2023 12:06 am
I don't care if they choose to call themselves the Orthodox Church of Mars - Antarctica Archbishopric, and neither should you. This squabbling over names is unworthy of the name of Christ. So what if their name is inaccurate? If my neighbor thinks he's Scottish because his family name is McSomething, but in reality his ancestors came from somewhere else and ended up with that name by mistake, would it be Christian of me to argue with him about it?
Georgios1/18/2023 10:08 pm
Serbians were not existing then too, it was to byzantine emporor that the Slavs pledged to send missionaries who developed the cyrillic scripto based on the greek one.
Peter C.1/18/2023 1:50 am
Georgios, you should remember that the evangelization of the Slavs was initiated by the Eastern Roman Empire, not Greece. The Carinthian March even swore allegiance to the Carolingian Empire, so it was a matter of emperors, not nations. He also remembers that Greece, like all nation states, are liberal and anti-Christian inventions. You should stop acting as if Greece has existed as a well-defined, homogeneous culture for millennia. Furthermore, Macedonia was a Hellenized kingdom, not a proper Greek state. Macedonia, like Thrace, were regions that became Hellenized by force. Today, North Macedonia is enslaved. Answer honestly, why were the ancient Hellenes able to conquer new regions and keep their names but the Slavs couldn't?
vojvoda Vuk 1/17/2023 1:49 pm
Well done Georgios! To be specific - our means SERBIAN! Shame on you "MOC" and "ROC!!!
Georgios1/16/2023 11:57 pm
Lies, lies, lies and antichristian phantasies. First of all, this little slavic population has nothing to do with Macedons and Macedonia, secondly now they are telling lies about the cyrillic script which was made under our influence and under our initiation and at the command of our kings.
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