UOC bishop on recognition of Macedonian Church: Phanar backstabs the Serbs

12 May 2022 13:05
Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka. Photo: news.church.ua Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka. Photo: news.church.ua

Bishop Victor believes that the Macedonian Church was received into communion by Phanar so hastily that one cannot help thinking this step was spontaneous.

The head of the Delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to International European Organizations, Bishop Viсtor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka, commented on the acceptance of the Macedonian Church, a structure that had been in schism with the Serbian Patriarchate for a long time, into Eucharistic communion by the synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on May 9.

“Some say that Istanbul decided to ‘seize the initiative’ from the Serbian Church, weakening the position of the latter. Indeed, on May 6, 2022, Bishop Fotije of Zvornic-Tuzla said that the Serbian Church and the so-called ‘Macedonian Church’ resumed dialogue after a long break. He urged ‘to pray for the healing of the 1967 schism,’ since ‘the healing of the schism will be for the good of the Church and for the good of the two fraternal nations,’" Bishop Viсtor wrote on his Telegram channel.

“After the Serbian Church resumed resolving the issue of healing the schism in its canonical territory in Macedonia, the Phanariots stabbed it in the back. The acceptance of the ‘Macedonian Church’ into communion took place so hastily that one cannot help thinking this step was spontaneous, and Phanar merely ‘seized the moment’. Phanar's decision is a blow to the Serbian Church. It seems that it was not dictated by ‘unity concern’, which is in no way consistent with the recognition of schismatics without the knowledge and participation of the canonical Church in Macedonia. Instead, it was adopted to once again demonstrate Phanar’s determination to take advantage of an opportunity in order to increase its influence in whatever way and strengthen its position in the Orthodox world – even at the expense of the canons of the Church and the basic rules of fraternal mutual respect,” the hierarch of the UOC emphasized.

Recall that the Serbian media criticized the Phanar's recognition of the Macedonian Church and called it interference in internal affairs.

As the UOJ reported, on May 9, 2022, Phanar entered into Eucharistic communion with the Macedonian Church, calling it the Ohrid Archdiocese.

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