Process of integrating Macedonian and Serbian Church structures in North Macedonia begins

Skopje, North Macedonia, April 26, 2023

Abp. Stefan, primate of the MOC. Photo: Abp. Stefan, primate of the MOC. Photo:     

The process of integrating the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Ohrid Archbishopric into the autocephalous Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric began yesterday by vote of the Holy Synod of the MOC.

The Serbian Church’s structure has existed in what is now called North Macedonia since 2002. At that time, most of the hierarchs of the MOC ultimately rejected the Niš Agreement that would have seen it return to autonomy within the Serbian Patriarchate, thus ending decades of schism. In the end, only His Eminence Archbishop Jovan resolved to reunite with the Serbian Church, which then established its Ohrid Archbishopric with Abp. Jovan at its head.

Finally, in May 2022, the MOC returned to the Serbian Patriarchate as an autonomous Church, and in June, it was granted full autocephaly by the Serbian Patriarchate.

The Serbian Ohrid Archbishopric has continued to exist since then, with Met. Jovan and three other hierarchs, but now the MOC hierarchs are looking to resolve this remaining detail.

His Eminence Metropolitan Timotej of Debar and Kičevo commented on the Synodal session, explaining that several decisions were made regarding the integration of the Serbian structure into the MOC and that the public would be informed in more detail once those decisions were accepted by the hierarchy of the Serbian Church, reports

Most of the decisions, related to the division of dioceses, were made unanimously, he said. The MOC expects full integration to take place at the Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church scheduled to begin in mid-May.

However, Met. Jovan, the head of the Serbian Orthodox structure in North Macedonia, told journalists he was taken aback by the news of the MOC Synod’s discussions. He said:

I don’t know anything more detailed than what I got from you journalists. We have no direct communication with the MOC-OA and we didn’t know at all that the Synod of the MOC-OA would be discussing this issue. We haven’t been told anything officially. The meeting was held, but I really don’t know what was discussed and what decisions were made. I understand that we will hear the final decision at the SOC Council and we hope that the final solution, with God’s help, will be acceptable to all of us. Let’s wait and see how things will go.

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


Beardtongue4/27/2023 4:15 pm
This is, at least potentially, really interesting. A mostly-unsolved problem in the modern Orthodox world is: "once overlapping jurisdictions exist in a given area, how can they be re-integrated into a single Church structure?" Having a modern example, even if the conditions are very different from those elsewhere, would be helpful, or at least encouraging.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required