Source: Orthodox History
February 16, 2023
On February 9, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Romania announced its decision to recognize the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in the Republic of North Macedonia. This decision is much more significant than it might seem at first blush; in fact, what Romania has done is to resurrect the pre-conciliar pan-Orthodox process (known as “Chambésy,” after the location of the meetings) that was to lay the groundwork for the Holy and Great Council. Romania’s action takes us back to a simpler and more collaborative era in Orthodox history – a time not so long ago, and yet so very long ago – and, perhaps, gives us a way out of the mess we’re in.
For our purposes, the Macedonian aspect of this story begins in 1967, when the Macedonian Orthodox Church – that is, the Orthodox Church in what was then the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – unilaterally declared itself to be autocephalous, breaking from the Serbian Patriarchate. For the next fifty-five years, the MOC was deemed to be schismatic, out of communion with the rest of the Orthodox world. In 2009, the MOC added to its name the title “Ohrid Archbishopric,” making an explicit connection to the old Archbishopric of Ohrid, a formerly autocephalous entity that is also claimed as part of the heritage of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.
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