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T O M O S
on the church autonomy of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric
P A U L ,
by the grace of God, Archbishop of Pec,
Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and the Patriarch of Serbia,
together with the holy Assembly of Bishops
Of the Serbian Orthodox Church,
to the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje
Kyr Kyr JOHN,
The Prelate of the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric,
In accordance with the established canonical Tradition of the Holy Church of God, especially with the 34th Rule of the Holy Apostles;
- pursuant to the decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church AS No. 47/1958 and AS No. 6/zap.57/ 1959 by virtue of which the Holy Assembly has accepted the church autonomy of the following dioceses : the Diocese of Skopje, the Diocese of Ohrid and Bitola and the Diocese of Zletovo and Strumica;
- Pursuant to the decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church AS No. 44/zap. 10 dated on 24th/11th of May 1967 and AS No. 50/zap.7 dated on 15th/2nd of September 1967 and in accordance with the Agreement for Establishment of Church Unity, signed in Nish on 17th of May 2002, confirmed by the Holy Assembly of Bishops ASNo. 38/zap. 16 dated on 23rd of May 2002
- as well as in accordance with the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric Syn No. 1 dated on 25th of December 2003
and having in regard the new historical and political circumstances, having as a priority that the Christ-named People of God advance on the path of salvation and have a greater spiritual benefit, as well as to carry out the administration of the church affairs appropriately and without difficulties;
Our Holy Patriarchate of Pec, in the more recent times known as Serbian Orthodox Church, hereby through the assemby blesses, approves, grants and recognises the church autonomy to the Orthodox Church in the Republic of Macedonia, now consisting of the following dioceses, i.e., eparchies : The Holy Metropolis of Skopje and the Holy Diocese of Prespa and Pelagonia, the Holy Diocese of Bregalnitza, the Holy Diocese of Debar and Kichevo, the Holy Diocese of Polog and Kumanovo, the Holy Diocese of Veles and Vardar Valley and the Holy Diocese of Strumitza.
The aforesaid orthodox dioceses were under the administration of our Patriarchate of Pec until the year of our Lord 1959 when they had been granted a church autonomy, being to our regret abused by the bishops thereof, who in an uncanonical way proclaimed the dioceses entrusted to them to be an autocephalous local Church in the year of our Lord 1967th. This self-proclaimed uncanonical ‘autocephaly’ has not been recognized by any of the Orthodox Churcher worldwide. Liturgical communion and any canonical relationship with the newly established schismatic organisation was broken off as a result of the aforesaid act of obstinacy and lawlessness until the year of our Lord 2002, when His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Veles and Vardar Valley kyr John acceded the liturgical and canonical unity with the Serbian Orthodox Church and with the Catholic Orthodox Church throughout the universe through it, together with the clergy, the monastics and the congregation of His Diocese (Metropolis).
Being persecuted, molested and imprisoned because of his aforesaid act of archpriest’s consciousness and responsibility, His Eminence, the Metropolitan John, has remained true to the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church and to the graceful and all-saving unity thereof from beginning to end. The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church had thereafter elected two more eminent bishops, whom We enthroned, His Eminence the Bishop of Polog and Kumanovo kyr Joachim and His Eminence the Bishop of Dremvitza kyr Marko, the adminstrator of the Bitola Diocese. The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric was constituted on the 25th of December in the year of our Lord 2003, who had elected His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Veles and Vardar Valley kyr John to be the Chairman thereof. The aforesaid has had the title of Our Exarch for all the dioceses of the autonomous Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric awaiting final canonical settlement of the situation in the above named ancient and glorious church district, and in accordance with the provisions of the aforesaid Agreement signed in Nish on 17th of May in the year of our Lord 2002, from now on he shall have the title of Blessed Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje.
Therefore, We officially certify and proclaim the aforesaid with this Patriarchal and Assembly’s Tomos. By the grace of our Lord, the autonomous Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric remains in full liturgical and canonical unity with our Patriarchate of Pec, i.e., with the Serbian Orthodox Church, and therefore with the fullness of the Most Holy Catholic Orthodox Church, being canonically expressed with the confirmation of the election of the Prelate thereof by Our humbleness. All the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church, movable and immovable, situated in the region of the aforesaid holy dioceses, i.e., eparchies, is hereby given to possession to the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
As a proof, confirmation and permanent testimony of all that has been constituted and established canonically with regard to the aforesaid dioceses becoming parts of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, hereby we issue to His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Kyr John, our beloved brother in Christ our Lord and fellow minister of Our humbleness, with all the Eminent Bishops of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, our beloved brethren and fellow ministers in the Holy Spirit, our following
PATRIARCHAL AND ASSEMBLY’S TOMOS
which is being kept original, correct and uninjured in the Archives of our holy Patriarchate.
Hereby we pray and wish that the God of all the grace, Who has summoned us to His eternal glory in Jesus Christ, our Lord, grants by the grace of the Holy Spirit all the blessings and all good fruits to all the dioceses being constituted this way as autonomous Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric. То Him, in the Trinity celebrated, may be the glory and the power unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Issued at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade,
in the month of May, on the 24th/11th day of the year of our Lord 2005.
Archbishop of Pec,
Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci
and Patriarch of Serbia
Chairman of the Holy Assembly of Bishops
of the Serbian Orthodox Church
+Gerasim Episkop of Gornji Karlovci
Secretary of the Holy Assembly of Bishops