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PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW DISCUSSES AUTOCEPHALY WITH NORTH MACEDONIAN POLITICIANS Istanbul, January 14, 2020 Photo: Romfea Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople received a number of North Macedonian politicians yesterday to discuss the matter of the autocephaly of the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church.” According to the Greek outlet Romfea, the Patriarch met with Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski, his predecessor Zoran Zaev, and their assistants Dane Talevski and Dejan Sotirovsky, at the politicians’ initiative. Pat. Bartholomew was accompanied by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Metropolitan Maximos of Silibria, Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianople, and other clerics and representatives of the Patriarchate. The Orthodox Church is represented in North Macedonia by the canonical Ohrid Archdiocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, though the majority of citizens belong to the breakaway MOC, which is seeking for autocephaly from the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the example of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Pat. Bartholomew and the North Macedonian representatives decided the Patriarchate will invite representatives of the Serbian Church and of the unrecognized MOC to the Patriarchal residence in Istanbul for consultations and an attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution. The Prime Ministers and their associates expressed their respect and trust in the Patriarchate of Constantinople following the “warm and sincere” discussion. Zoran Zaev earlier stated that he was prepared to offer Pat. Bartholomew a cash bribe to receive autocephaly for the MOC. “Hierarchs” of the MOC have repeatedly expressed their belief that they will receive autocephaly from Constantinople in the near future, including as recently as January 7. “The Ecumenical Patriarchate officially confirmed that it has not given up on the desire to resolve the issue of the autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, despite the opposition of the Serbian and Russian Orthodox Churches,” writes the North Macedonian outlet Religija. “During the talk, the previous stages of the discussion were raised, including the request of the Church [the MOC—Ed.] to return to the canonical name of the Archdiocese of Ohrid, in accordance with a timely request for an appeal on its part,” the Religija report reads. In September 2018, Pat. Bartholomew declared that he would never recognize the MOC as long as it used “Macedonian” in its title. The MOC, which formed as a schism form the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967, reached out to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in November 2017 for assistance in becoming a canonically-recognized autocephalous Church. The Bulgarian Church agreed to help, which greatly angered the Churches of Serbia and Greece, and also the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The MOC then appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well in May 2018 for the regularization of its canonical status, which responded that it would take up the issue and take appropriate measures “under the essential conditions of the observance of the historical-canonical powers and privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” After declaring his opposition to the title “Macedonian,” Pat. Bartholomew later declared in October 2018 that the issue of the MOC is within the Serbian Church’s competence. At its May 2019 session, the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Church resolved to resume negotiations on the resolution of the status of the MOC, though there does not seem to have been any progress since then. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited “Archbishop” Stefan of the MOC in October, after which Stefan declared that the U.S. is committed to protecting the MOC. 1/14/2020 Извор: https://orthochristian.com/127059.html?fbclid=IwAR0jhUA8cQD-FuP_OGkv64IxSKVJnV3eBQeC13rIZnasfR5nzFdn-KA3Yz4
Debar, Republic of North Macedonia, February 22, 2019 The schismatics of the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” are still expecting to eventually receive a tomos of autocephaly from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and, they even have more arguments in their favor for receiving autocephaly than does Ukraine, believes “Metropolitan” Timotej of Debar and Kičevo. “All of our expectations are that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will soon begin the process of recognizing the Macedonian Church,” the unrecognized hierarch said in a recent interview with mkd.mk. Another Macedonian hierarch, “Bishop” Petar of Prespa and Pelagonia earlier said he expects they will receive a tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople by the end of this year, saying they meet all the necessary requirements. At the same time, Timotej noted that there is no consensus in North Macedonian about whether they should recognize the newly-created Ukrainian schismatic church. For now, he says, the church prefers to remain restrained about this issue. There also is no consensus, he said, about whether or not to change the name of the church, which Patriarch Bartholomew has placed as a condition on granting autocephaly. However, Timotej is certain they will not change their name. “The Prespes Agreement does not oblige us to change our name. The church is not financed from the state budget. We will not change the name,” he said. The Prespes Agreement was signed between representatives of Greece and Macedonia on June 12 and went into effect on February 12, officially changing the former’s name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, thus ending a long-standing dispute over the country’s former name, as Macedonia is also a region in northern Greece, and Greeks fiercely defend the name as belonging only to them. In September, Pat. Bartholomew declared that he would never recognize the church as long as it has the word “Macedonia” in its title. He also later declared that the Patriarchate would not grant autocephaly to the Macedonian church as its territory is, in fact, the canonical territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church, from which the Macedonian church schismed in 1967, despite the fact that in May he had declared that Constantinople would handle the Macedonian church issue “under the essential conditions of the observance of the historical-canonical powers and privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, noted the double standard at play between the Patriarchate’s actions in Ukraine and its latest stance towards Macedonia—interfering in the Ukrainian Church’s territory on the one hand, while refusing to interfere in the Serbian Church’s territory on the other. The Macedonian church reached out to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in November 2017 for assistance in becoming a canonically-recognized autocephalous Church. The Bulgarian Church agreed to help, which greatly angered the Churches of Serbia and Greece, and also the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Macedonian Church then appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well for the regularization of its canonical status, receiving various answers from them. http://orthochristian.com/119521.html?fbclid=IwAR3C6FTiLdq7PK3h2cexPppy6fZyF-fsrwidU19BfPV6NKVFuJP2SJcgJ8o