On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the restoration of the Eucharistic communion of the Ohrid Archdiocese by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a co-liturgy was held at the Bigorski Monastery in North Macedonia, between the Abbot of the Monastery, Bishop Parthenios of Antania, and Metropolitan Kyrillos of Imbros and Tenedos.
Metropolitan Kyrillos visited the country at the invitation of Metropolitan Timotheos of Debar and Kitsavida, with whom they jointly honored the memory of the Great Martyr Saint George.
Before departing for Imbros, Metropolitan Kyrillos also visited the Bigorski Monastery and celebrated with the monks of the Monastery the anniversary of the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on May 9, 2022.
The Archimandrites of the Ecumenical Throne also participated in the co-liturgy in Bigorski, Cyril, and Anatolius, and Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, Alexander Demovsky, and the hieromonk Nicodemus, who came from Ohrid for this event, with the blessing of Metropolitan Timotheos of Debar and Kitsavida.
In the official doxology on the occasion of the anniversary, Bishop Parthenios, addressing the Metropolitan of Imbros, stressed, among other things, that “because unity in the Church, through respect for the First Throne in Orthodoxy – of Constantinople, which was legislated by the sacred canons and terms of the Holy Ecumenical Councils, at the same time constitutes unity with the world of the saints, where Christ Himself is the Head.
And in this blessed unity, we came with the prayers and the sacred desire of these souls that we mentioned, with the wise and responsible action of our Archbishop Stefan and the holy hierarchs, who already in 2018 requested an appeal from the first-throne Church, which was greeted and supported by our politicians and, undoubtedly, with the enlightenment, generosity and paternal care of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, together with his hierarchs from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, accepted the appeal of the Church and our state.
Besides, using the canonical privilege and history and guided by the thought of Christ, with the wisdom and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, the Ecumenical Patriarch, as on many previous occasions, showed that he is a careful and caring doctor who knows how to heal even the most severe wounds with the balm of Christ’s love.
We thank God that the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was respected by most local Churches and that, after its blessing and recommendation, we resolved most of the administrative issues with the sister Church of Serbia, which for its part proposed our Church as ripe for autocephaly, while the issue of the integration of the clergy of the autonomous Church of Archbishop Ioannis still needs to be resolved.
On his part, the Metropolitan of Imbros, in his speech full of messages, pointed out that “Our Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, and our Holy Synod decided, despite all the difficulties and obstacles, which some put, to restore communion with you, which for so many years you had been marginalized as schismatic clergymen.
And after so many years of isolation, loneliness, punishment, accusations, and slander, you have once again become a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The Patriarch, with his courage and boldness, overcame all obstacles and moved on.
He saw the traps and knows even those that are being set up now, but having confidence in the Ohrid Archdiocese, he knows that this Church will no longer betray the Ecumenical Patriarchate once again. We hope that Archbishop Stefan of Ohrid and the hierarchs are trying and struggling to put things in order, to overcome some practical difficulties that so many years had nested. To overcome and thus reach the coveted moment when the Archdiocese of Ohrid will receive from the honorable hands of the Ecumenical Patriarch the tomos of autocephaly”.
He added that “two thousand years ago on Earth, God made the Ecumenical Patriarchate the first throne among the Orthodox, not to oppress others, but to serve, love, to support all the local Churches.
In this course, in the history of so many years, the Ecumenical Patriarchate gave autocephaly and patriarchal value to Russia, gave autocephaly and patriarchal value to Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, gave autocephaly to Albania, Greece, and the Czech Republic, so many churches! Recently, he made this big, powerful decision to give autocephaly to Ukraine as well.
In a country that today, unfortunately, is plagued by the war between Christian Orthodox brothers and sisters. And they for many years struggled to get their autocephaly, to live as free people. And the Patriarch gave this possibility, just as he gave it to you by recognizing your canonicity.”