Russian influence on the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO) is increasing, as evidenced by the visits of the second man of the Russian Orthodox Church (KOS), Metropolitan Antoni, in the country, as well as his congratulations sent to the Archbishop of Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO), Stefan, on his name day.
These allegations were made by Marjan Nikolovski, a journalist specializing in religions, in the answers to the podcast “Politikanti”.
According to him, for a year and a half, no one in Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO) has been interested in continuing the path to Constantinople, where the pro-Western Ecumenical Patriarchate, which recognizes the autocephaly of the Macedonian Church, is based. “This means that the pressure from the Russian Church is great,” the journalist believes.
According to Nikolovski, this serious Russian influence goes in the direction of one or two bishops in the synod.
Nikolovski was the focus of public attention last week after the Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO) sent him a letter demanding that he appear before a church court and be questioned about articles of his journalistic work the portal Religija.mk.
“Many years of experience have shown that religious issues can be very sensitive. Therefore, I think that writing and publishing information about the situation in Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) and the Islamic Religious Community of North Macedonia (IRC) is useful for society. I do it from the prism of the journalistic aspect. This is how Religion.mk works. It is not a religious portal. There was a rumor that the bishops and their society were in danger because of my writings. I am not that powerful and neither are those who fear me. The idea is different, let me get away with it, that tomorrow these two bishops will settle accounts on behalf of Moscow with other priests or with anyone else who does not want the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) to become a Russian instrument,” Nikolovski said.
According to him, the Russian Patriarch Kirill recently removed the part from the liturgies in which the Orthodox Church prays for peace in the world.
“This decree of the Russian Patriarch has been removed from the liturgies and any Russian priest who prays for peace will be sanctioned in Russia.” The paradox and paranoia of the Russian Orthodox Church goes so far.
According to him, the Russian Church wants to create a new bloc in the Orthodox world and make the Russian Patriarch the new Pope of Orthodoxy.
“Watch Putin’s first press conference after the first attack in Ukraine, where he says it is his responsibility to protect the Orthodox countries of the world.” The Orthodox Church exists in several countries of the world. Most of them are NATO members, including Macedonia. If we disregard the Russian Church, Greece is a predominantly Orthodox country and a member of the EU and NATO. Albania has an Orthodox church, is a member of NATO and is on the way to joining the EU. Bulgaria is a member of NATO and the EU. “Romania is a member of NATO and the EU,” said the journalist.
Nikolovski says that despite the fact that the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO) is on its way to recognizing the autocephaly, it is trying to show that this recognition is in line with Russia’s goodwill.
“The Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO) is trying to penetrate the entire Russian sphere of influence so that tomorrow, whatever happens in society, the Macedonian Church will implement the decisions of the Russian Church,” says Nikolovski.
According to Nikolovski, the Russian Church’s pressure on Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) Archdiocese of Ohrid (AO) currently consists of renouncing the receipt of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s certificate of recognition (tomos).
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate is pro-European, i.e. pro-Western in orientation. Most of its followers live in America, in Europe. The Russian Orthodox Church has always tried to create a mode of operation of what Constantinople was during the Byzantine era. We are in the middle of it. “On Russia’s orders, the Serbs have to issue a tomos that is not important for any church,” said the journalist and editor of Religion.mk.
Writtes: Xhelal Neziri, editor and associate to The Geopost from Skopje