In the last few years, the status of the Autocephalous Macedonian Orthodox Church has yet again been put to the test by the Serbian Orthodox Church – The Pec Patriarchy, insisting that the Macedonian Orthodox Church change its status from Autocephalous to Independent, and that they remove the term Macedonia from the official title of the Church to be referred by the old name of the ancient Macedonian Orthodox Archbishopric title, Ohridska Arhiepiskopija, which translates to Archbishopric of Ohrid.

The Serbian Church’s logic behind this “old guard” reasoning is two fold; one, lowering the Macedonian Orthodox Church’s status from Autocephalous to Independent would once again place the Macedonian Orthodox Church, whose full title is the Makedonska Pravoslavna Crkva - Ohridska Arhiepiskopija, which translates to the Macedonian Orthodox Church – The Archbishopric of Ohrid, under the Serbian Patriarch’s jurisdiction. For Macedonian Orthodox Christians this would mean that the Serbian Patriarchy would choose their church bishops and be involved in all of their internal church matters regardless of the fact that Macedonia is a separate and sovereign nation. And two, there would no longer be a Macedonian Archbishopric, a fact that is viewed as a direct attack on Macedonian Orthodox Christians and on Macedonia, a biblical nation in which most of its Macedonian inhabitants rightly entrust their church more than their government.

These historic evils reoccurred approximately three years ago in the guise of a new-fangled Serbian Church movement that suddenly reneged on the covenant that gave autocephalous status to the Macedonian Orthodox Church during the Yugoslav Era in the 60’s. The Serbian Church assets that the agreement was not legitimate claiming that Serbian Bishops were manhandled into giving the autocephalous status to the Macedonian Orthodox Archbishopric by the “hard line” communist regime of Josef Broz Tito at the time. Things were further complicated when a former Macedonian ordained bishop, who studied his theology in Greece, Zoran Vraniskovski, who while with the Macedonian Church was given the title Bishop Jovan, somewhat conspicuously pulled ranks and sided with the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchy. This move caught the Macedonian Archbishopric by surprise, wondering just how many more of their clergy have these aspirations. It has never been fully brought to the public eye, but has been mentioned by our grandfathers, and has been written about in a few local newspapers that both the Greek and Serbian Orthodox Patriarchies have always undertaken this underground movement to recruit and instill clergymen to undermine the Macedonian Orthodox Church. After Vraniskovski’s move, many of these suspicions came floating up once again.

Soon after, the anti-Macedonian Orthodox Church Bishop Jovan was stripped of his title and given the somewhat medieval-like label of schismatic. However, this has not stopped him from breaking into Macedonian Churches to hold secret christenings and sermons for his few followers. Neither, has it quelled his more recent attempts to build a parallel Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia, giving him the appearance of a martyr for religious freedom. Because of this, “Bishop” Jovan has been semi successful in these attempts, as he has been able to organize a group of faithful who have remained loyal to him and has received enough interested press to persuade a virtual movement for a new church in Macedonia that would be under direct control of the Serbian Patriarch Peter. Jovan’s movement has kept to the “prophecies” of Macedonian folklore by taking the name “Ohridska Arhiepiskopija” as title of his alleged-church if only to add fuel to the fire between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox Churches and beg retaliation by Macedonian faithful. Indeed some retaliation has taken place. Just last year, the Macedonian government tore down the beginnings of a new “Ohridska Arhiepiskopija” Church in Bitola, Macedonia. Government officials stated that construction of that building was without permit and therefore, an illegal structure. Furthermore, attempts to register the “Ohridska Arhiepiskopija” as a religious group also failed as the board of patents denied their request. What we must remember here is that the term “Ohridska Arhiepiskopija” is already the name of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. For “Bishop” Jovan to claim it as part of his “new Serbian Patriarchy” is to lay claim to the very root and identity of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, implying that there was never a Macedonian Orthodox Church or Macedonian people. Indeed, many Serbian sympathizers actually do claim this! It is the equivalent of a Serbian Bishop pulling ranks from the Serbian Patriarchy and deciding to build a parallel Archbishopric, naming it the Pec Patriarchy, and stating that from this day forth this Patriarchy is to fall under the jurisdiction of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. What would the reaction of the Serbian Orthodox Church and all Serbian Orthodox Christians be?

Ich glaub das reicht ersteinmal, Teil 2 und TEil 3 folgt dann. Ich bitte nur ernstgemeinte Kommentare, denn ich bin auch eine sachliche und konstruktive Diskussion aus. Denn wir wollen doch schliesslich alle dazu lernen.