Professor of the Seminarís University ďSt. Clement of OhridĒ in Skopje, Macedonia, Dr. Jovan Belcovski regarding the attempts of changes in the autocephaly statue and the MOC name.
The MOC meets all requirements for an autocephaly
During the past three years the Holy prelatic synod for the Macedonian Orthodox Church has invested enormous amounts of effort towards the recognition and the acceptance of the autocephaly for the MOC, which was proclaimed on the MOCís third church-national assembly that took place in the city of Ohrid in 1967.† A lot of efforts were contributed; visits from other Orthodox Churches were made resulting in an outlined-agreement for the discussions towards the acceptance of the MOC in the family Orthodox Churches.
Following this inducement, all negotiators and decision-makers cannot say that the Church, according to dogma, is one holy gathering and apostolic.† Even in the apostolic-period, we have a Church of Solun, Church of Philip, Church of Veri, and above of all, of course a Autocephaly Church.† Even in Byzantine after the 330th year (as an administrative look) the Church from the East divided into many Autocephalic Churches.† According to dogma and its studies in the Divine Liturgy, its customs Ė the Church is indivisible.† The Church has only divided administratively.† And by that, all national or autocephalic Orthodox Churches are obliged in their teachings strictly to unite towards the Holy Bible, towards the apostolic rulings, towards the decisions of the seven Vselenic assemblies, and the decisions of the two national assemblies which findings are accepted as laws For the entire Vselenic Church.† In fact, joining towards the past, the churches are fulfilling their teachings of being united.
It is a fact that the biggest burden to the Macedonian Orthodox Church is that it lacks full means of communication with the remaining Orthodox Churches.† However, in itís learning, the Macedonian Orthodox Church entirely fulfills the by-laws which govern the existence of the existence of an Orthodox Church.† In the event where an autocephalic national church steps down from the previously-mentioned learning, then the remaining Orthodox Churches have the right to shut-off that church from their wing, to proclaim that church as schism, and even erratic if it falls under those circumstances.† Thereís nothing that the Christian church steps down out of to be united with the Orthodox Church.
The word autocephaly means independent, which relies on no one.† And autonomy means self-governed, its by-laws are self-established; actually it isnít entirely an independent church and isnít completely freed from the supreme government of another church.† In particular, even today there is no crystal-clear definition of an autocephalic church.† Although, one definition is accepted: an autocephalic church is the newly elected bishops are enthroned from the episcopes at their own church.† And at our Ohrid Archbishopric, we have had many examples where newly elected bishops were enthroned from other bishops in that church, which means an autocephalic church.
However, throughout history, the national politics and church possibilities have brought out some changes.† And that is why, even from the 9th century, special attention has been paid to the foundation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which raises one important question even today.† Namely, the idea of each individual nation to have its own autocephalic church.† We see this idea come to realization especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.† That, in particular, outlines one unwritten rule Ė each self-supported nation and independent country is to have an autocephalic church.† Moreover, when the country is the kingdom, then the church must be the patriarchate.† That is the case in an independent fairy country, in which first an autocephalic archbishopric church is formed and then the so-called kingdom.† Then after, in 1219, in the independent country of Serbia, an autocephalic church was formed, and then again in the 14th century (1346), when kingdom came to be, the church was proclaimed patriarchate.† Which means that there is a lot of notice of the bond between the church and the country.† And also, the church and the language become an important symbol to the people in one eastern country.† In fact the church is one important factor to the foundation of one independent country.
Having minded all of this, it cannot come to be that the word Macedonian cannot be erased from the name, Macedonian Orthodox Church.† Even tough today many of the Orthodox Churches heavily insist that the ethnophelitism is thrown aside, but nevertheless, the ethnical aspect is present at all churches and is a ballast of history, and this is the reason why the Macedonian Orthodox Church should be not asked to wear the†††† national name.† There is no need.† Why canít the more influential churches show an example of this?† Since 1870, the Macedonian nation has been fighting to renew the Ohrid Archbishopric as their own Macedonian Orthodox Church, which they finally succeeded in 1958.
With respect to the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the cathedral has always been at the heart of Macedonia.† In its 800th-year anniversary of existence, the Macedonian Orthodox Church has always governed precisely from Prespa and Ohrid.† The dioceses within Macedonia, the Macedonian people have always kept the core of its worshipers and from this point forward, it has full rights to think of their church and the Macedonian Orthodox Church as eastern with an autocephaly in Ohrid.† The truth is that this truth, with its prolonged existence, has always governed with enormous diacesa.
Under which laws is the recognition of a newly formed autocephalic church based upon?† Precisely on the 11th ruling of the fourth (Halkidonic) Vselenic Conference, and the 38th ruling of the 5-6 Vselenic Conference.† Here, it actually states that whenever a new city or country is formed, it is to have its own independent church.† Or, ďby customs, issues of the church change according to national politics.Ē† In other words, every fully independent country has the right to an autocephalic church.† This is very important to us, as Macedonia became an independent country on September 8, 1992, and by that it has the right to an autocephalic church.† I believe that this is very well known among the Orthodox population and the day is rapidly approaching when unfaithful happenings will stop occurring to the Macedonian Orthodox Church.† A church which has been dragging its roots since the apostolic period.
Lately, there have been talks in 1967 the Macedonian Orthodox Church had an rebellion. I will say again, according to our entire knowledge, that there is the unfortunate fact that through the process of forming their churches and autocephaly, all have broken a few laws.† This has occurred with the Archbishopric of Athens in 1928, with the Romanian church around the 60ís of the 19th century.† All of these churches had proclaimed their existence and autocephaly on their own, and their recognition by other churches was delayed by decades.† Then, is only the Macedonian Orthodox Church an exclusion from this point of view?