The Macedonian Tendency: History on the struggle to establish the Macedonian Church

Monday, February 28, 2005

History on the struggle to establish the Macedonian Church

Nice article about Macedonianism and the Orthodox Churches in the Balkans

Oh how the Mighty Have Fallen! by Risto Stefov

With the creation of the Ecumenical Patriarchy, the Greek State, which had earlier adopted Christian Orthodoxy as its State religion, indirectly began to lay claims to all Pravoslav Churches, including those in Macedonia.

Almost immediately all churches in Macedonia were infiltrated by the agents of the Patriarch who closely but unofficially cooperated with Athens. By the early 1870's Slavonic liturgy, which at the time was covertly and illegally conducted since the abolishment of the Macedonian Church in 1767, was replaced by liturgy conducted in Koine. Besides changing the language of liturgy, the Patriarchy began to exploit its parishes to a point of poverty. The Slavonic speakers complained to the Russian authorities, who at the time had appointed themselves guardians of the Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire. Pressure from Russia forced the Sultan to create another religious governing body, specifically for the Slavonic speakers, which later became known as the Exarchist Church. The Exarchy was created in 1875 at the extreme protest of the Patriarchy, which refused to recognize it. The Sultan created the Exarchy without hesitation because, in his view, the two churches would now compete against each other and not against the Turks.

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