“The recognition by the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Autocephaly of the Church in North Macedonia is a joyful event, which is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia,” the Vice-President of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Prelate Nikolai Balasov, told Tass.
“We rejoice together with our Serbian and Macedonian brothers. We have been waiting for this event for many years.
And now the time has come for God’s will. I believe that the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church will give an appropriate response to the messages that are coming at its next session,” Balasov said.
It is worth noting that the reaction of the Moscow Patriarchate, and in particular of Prelate Nikolai Balasov, was entirely different when the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the Church of North Macedonia.
At that time, Fr. Nikolai had spoken of “a blatantly politically motivated invasion of the competence of the Serbian Orthodox Church”.
Specifically, the Prelate of the Russian Church stated that “The Patriarchate of Constantinople, as in the case of Ukraine, has once again decided to act as the sole mediator for the fate of the entire Orthodox world, as the sole and undisputed arbiter in all ecclesiastical matters.
It has engaged in a blatantly irregular and politically motivated intrusion into the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church. However, a legitimate decision on the status of the Orthodox Church of North Macedonia can only be made by the Council of Bishops of the Patriarchate of Serbia. Any other decision without the participation of the Orthodox Church of Serbia will not be recognized by the Church of Russia. I hope that the other local Orthodox Churches will not do so either.”