Bulgarian Orthodox Church Vows to Assist Establishment of Canonical Status of Macedonian Orthodox Church

Sofia, November 27 (BTA) - The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Monday said it will help establish the canonical status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. "Considering that the Macedonian Orthodox Church acknowledges the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as its mother-church, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, in full awareness of its sacred duty, undertakes to cooperate with, and assist the Macedonian Orthodox Church before the local orthodox churches to establish its canonical status," the decision says. The decision was read out to the press by the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod but he declined to comment it or to answer any questions by the press.

The Holy Synod also decided to appoint a synodal commission of eight metropolitans to conduct the negotiations on the statute of the Macedonian Church.

Earlier this month the Holy Synod received a letter from its Macedonian counterpart requesting its recognition from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as mother church.

All metropolitans were present at Monday's meeting to discuss the letter of Macedonian Archbishop Stephen who chairs the Macedonian Holy Synod.

For half a century now, the Macedonian Orthodox Church has been in a schism after its unilateral declaration of autocephaly in Ohrid on July 17, 1967 which was even before Macedonia broke away from Yugoslavia. So far, no local orthodox church has recognized the independence of the Macedonian Church.

Asked by reporters why a decision about the Macedonian Orthodox Church is taking so long, Bulgarian Patriarch Nеophyte said because it is a complicated matter and one that should be considered carefully.

When he was asked whether the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will have the strength to defend the church in Macedonia before the other Orthodox patriarchates, the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church said that "this is the least this country could do because they are our brethren and our people and we will strive to keep its unity".

Source: Sofia