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Second joint liturgy after Serbian Orthodox Church recognized autocephaly of Macedonian Orthodox Church

The Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church recognized the autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric.

Macedonian Orthodox Church – the Archdiocese of Ohrid – and the Serbian Orthodox Church held a second joint service at the Church of St. Clement Ohridski in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia on Tuesday (May 24).

The joint liturgy loaded with symbolism was led by Macedonian Orthodox Church Archbishop Stefan and Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije.

The move came after a historic decision earlier in May by Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul to end decades of isolation for the Macedonian Orthodox Church since it declared its independence in 1967 over the objections of the more influential SPC in Belgrade.

Tuesday’s liturgy coincided with the day when much of the Orthodox Christian world celebrates the Byzantine theologians and missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Serbian Patriarch Porfirije said in an address during the liturgy that “Mostly thanks to your prayers brothers and sister, and thanks to the prayers of all the saints, we established unity.”

“And now we bring you one more piece of good news – that the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church has unanimously met the pleas of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and has accepted and recognized its autocephaly,” he continued.

On the other hand, Stefan said, “This historical period is a holiday for all Christians in Macedonia, regardless of nationality.”

Sharing the information that the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul accepted the letter sent to him on organizing a joint service, Stefan said they will hold a joint service with Patriarch Bartholomew as part of the Feast of Pentecost.

On May 9, at the meeting of the Holy Synod, the Fener Greek Patriarchate announced that it had accepted the Ohrid Archbishopric as canonical.

While this decision which was welcomed by Orthodox believers in North Macedonia, does not mean canonical autocephality or independence, but the recognition of the church hierarchy led by the MPC’s Archbishop Stefan as valid in the Orthodox world.

The Serbian Orthodox Church says it is only to give autonomy to the MPC under its jurisdiction.

After that, on 19 May, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archdiocese held the first joint liturgy in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. This ritual ended the 55-year conflict between the two churches.

(Reuters)

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