Media: North Macedonia requests autocephaly for their "church" from Phanar
President Stevo Pendarovski called on the Ecumenical Patriarchate to use the right of appeal to recognize the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church”.
The authorities of North Macedonia are asking Constantinople for autocephaly for the "Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archdiocese" (MOC - OA), which is not recognized in the Orthodox world. This is stated in the letter of Head of State Stevo Pendarovski to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople dated September 16, 2020, which was published by the North Macedonian resource Religija Mk.
Congratulating the head of the Phanar with the ecclesiastic New Year, the President of North Macedonia, on behalf of the citizens of the country, asked him to continue the earlier process and use the appeal right of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to recognize the autocephaly of the schismatic Macedonian "church".
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate is an example of how to stay consistent with values and at the same time be dynamic in solving current problems,” says the letter from the President of the Republic of North Macedonia. “As the president of my country, I want to personally inform you that <...> we have decided to leave behind historical differences. I am addressing you on behalf of many of my fellow citizens who identify themselves as Orthodox Christians and whose only desire and need is to come to terms with their neighbors and move towards a common future, towards a common life and true freedom. In this regard, I request Your Holiness to accept the call of our pious people and our Church to use their right of appeal, so that our Orthodox citizens finally have the opportunity to be equal with all other Orthodox Christians in the world."
Recall that North Macedonia belongs to the canonical territory of the Serbian Patriarchate. According to the North Macedonian autocephalists, in 1920 the Patriarchate of Constantinople "in accordance with the political realities" of that time ceded the dioceses on the territory of present-day North Macedonia to the Serbian Orthodox Church, but the Serbian Patriarchate has not been in actual control of church life for more than 70 years, which gives Constantinople the right to reconsider its decision.
As reported by the UOJ, in January 2020, Patriarch Bartholomew received at Phanar Prime Minister of North Macedonia Oliver Spassovsky, who had previously announced his readiness to “make a cash donation without any problems” to the head of Phanar for granting Tomos to the unrecognized “Macedonian Church”.