The Bulgarian Orthodox Church held its own celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the Ohrid Archbishopric on June 10, having turned down an invitation to attend the Macedonian Orthodox Church’s celebration on May 27 and 28.
On the occasion, which was marked with a liturgy at Sofia’s landmark Alexander Nevsky cathedral with the presence of Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit, the Holy Synod issued a lengthy statement outlining its stance on relations with the church in the neighbouring former Yugoslav republic.
The Holy Synod’s statement said that in the past more than half a year, the attention of the church and the public in Bulgaria had been particularly focused on the neighbouring country and the statu of the Orthodox Church there “which, unfortunately, for decades has resided outside of communion with the family of local Orthodox churches”.
The statement noted that the Macedonian Orthodox Church had asked the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to accept the role of its mother church, adding that there had been unambiguously negative reaction from some Orthodox churches that had openly declared their disagreement.
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(Photo of Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit: Bulgarian Patriarchate)