After the letter that has been sent a few days ago from the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in which he requested to file the “appeal” and to equate the faithful Orthodox Christians with the Orthodox Christians around the world, the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, did exactly the same.
As announced late Tuesday night by the Office of the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev sent a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in which he referred to the meeting they had in Phanar, that took place in January 2020, during which he asked for support and assistance, in order for the self-proclaimed “Macedonian Orthodox Church – Archdiocese of Ohrid” to be recognized as an autocephalous church and to be accepted by the orthodox churches of the world.
“We respect everything that is part of the international treaties and circumstances. However, we request to be ecclesiastically free within the borders of our country and for our Bishops to be able to co-officiate with the Bishops of all other Orthodox churches around the world,” said the Prime Minister of North Macedonia in his letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In his letter, Zoran Zaev notes that the Orthodox people in his country deserve the independence of the church they have been dreaming of for a century and that he “expects to see the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Archdiocese of Ohrid recognized as autocephalous, with the blessing and written decision by the Primate of the Orthodox Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.”
The Orthodox Church of North Macedonia seceded in 1967 from the Serbian Orthodox Church and proclaimed itself the “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, which is not recognized by any Orthodox Church in the world.
The Serbian Patriarchate recognizes a second church in North Macedonia, the Archdiocese of Ohrid, headed by the Archbishop Jovan VI, as the regular church in North Macedonia under its jurisdiction. In 2002, the Serbian Patriarchate in the dialogue with the Orthodox Church of North Macedonia offered wide autonomy but not autocephaly, while the name would remain Archdiocese of Ohrid. This proposal is still open and is the official position of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
According to ANA-MPA, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, commenting yesterday on the letter of the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, asking him to recognize the autocephaly of the irregular Orthodox Church of his country, expressed the hope that this request will not be met.
Dačić pointed out that in church matters there are rules that must be observed and the issues must be resolved without political interference.