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Metropolitan Gavriil: Nothing Political in Holy Synod's Decision on North Macedonia's Church

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Metropolitan Gavriil of Lovech said on Bulgarian National Radio that there is nothing political in a decision adopted by the Holy Synod on Tuesday, according to which the Bulgarian Orthodox Church enters into canonical and Eucharistic communion with the Orthodox Church of North Macedonia, now that the schism that lasted in it has been overcome. The Holy Synod specified in its decision that "the matter of the name of the Orthodox Church of North Macedonia is yet to be considered".
Responding to this reservation, North Macedonia’s President Stevo Pendarovski alleged in an interview for 24 TV that there is a coordinated state policy between the Bulgarian authorities and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. "Who do you think you are to leave [the matter of the name] for later consideration?" Pendarovski said, quoted by the BTA correspondent in Skopje.
"The Macedonian President was unimpressed by the joy and love with which we welcomed the news that the schism has been lifted," Gavriil said, approached for comment on Pendarovski’s statement. "He noticed a passage in our statement that the Serbian Church itself proposes: a dialogue on sorting out the name. The Serbian Patriarch himself writes this, and he does not refer to them by any name. This is the truth. There has been nothing political in our decision," the Metropolitan argued.
In a communique published on May 16, 2022, the Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church said that "a dialogue on the future and possible final status of the dioceses in Northern Macedonia is not only possible but also expedient, legitimate and realistic".
On June 8, the Greek Orthodox Church also recognized the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia as Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric. In a letter to the Serbian Patriarchate, however, the Synod of the Archbishopric of Athens voiced serious concern over the use of the name "Macedonian Orthodox Church" "because this intervenes into the internal affairs of the Church of Greece, which also has a zone named ‘Macedonia’ under its jurisdiction."

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