The Macedonian Tendency: More on Serbian - Macedonian Church Fight

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More on Serbian - Macedonian Church Fight

It is embarrassing for the Prime Minister of Macedonia to be appealing to the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. He is working hand and glove with the Greek Church in Athens to deny the ethnicity of the Macedonian people. I still do not know why our people cannot open a dialogue with the Russian Church. Macedonians don’t want mediation, we just want recognition.

In an open letter, Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski has called on Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, who is the spiritual head of the Orthodox Churches, to support a dialogue between the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC), Makfax news agency reported on 30 May (see 'RFE/RL Newsline,' 27 May 2005 and 'RFE/RL Balkan Report,' 23 January and 6 August 2004). Buckovski said the SPC's latest decision to recognize only the pro-SPC Archbishopric of Ohrid as canonical not only fails to resolve the church question in Macedonia, but could also increase religious tensions. The MPC, which split from SPC in 1967 with the support of the communist authorities, is not recognized by any other Orthodox Church. UB

The Macedonian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on 30 May that the decision of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) to recognize only the pro-SPC Archbishopric of Ohrid as canonical is an attempt to create parallel institutions aimed at undermining the autocephalous status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC), RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. The statement added that the SPC's latest move is a 'throwback to the past' that does not serve the interests of the Macedonian or Serbian nations and could hurt the development of relations between the two countries. The ministry called on the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro to do whatever they can to prevent 'moves aimed at denying [the identity of] the Macedonian people, state, and institutions,' regardless of where such threats may originate. PM

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