Patriarch Porfirije said on Tuesday that the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Holy Assembly of Bishops decided to recognize the independence of the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia.
“The Holy Assembly of Bishops has unanimously decided to meet the request of the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Archbishopric of Ohrid and bless, accept and recognize autocephaly,” the Patriarch said.
The SPC and Orthodox Church in North Macedonia have been in dispute since 1967 when the Macedonian Orthodox Church declared its independence from the SPC. The dispute was ended recently following a decision by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to recognize the Ohrid Bishopric with no mention of Macedonia in its name.
The Presidents of Serbia and North Macedonia, Aleksandar Vucic and Stevo Pendarovski, welcomed the SPC decision to recognize its southern counterpart during their meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The Patriarch and Ohrid Archbishop Stefan served a liturgy in Belgrade’s St Sava cathedral last week and again in Skoplje’s St Kliment church on Tuesday.
“God did not set borders to pit people against each other. Borders means that each nation can organize itself to multiply the gifts it got from God, not to close up,” Patriarch Porfirije said.
The Patriarch said he is sure that all the other Orthodox Churches will gladly receive the news that the SPC has recognized the church in North Macedonia.