Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Eastern churches
Metropolitan preaches and gives blessing at biker rally
In Macedonia, a country of ex-Yugoslavia. He’s not from a recognized Orthodox church but that’s the spirit: traditional religion that engages the culture without selling out to it or patronizing.

There’s a story that this Macedonian church (a fairly recent breakaway from the Church of Serbia) wanted to go under Rome. Interestingly, if that’s true, it’s exactly how the little Bulgarian Catholic Church came into being in the 1800s and why after a flip-flop Bulgaria’s Christians ended up with Byzantium and not Rome to begin with: nationalism. The C19 Bulgarians didn’t want to be under the Greeks because the Greeks were under the Turks, and in olden times the khan thought he’d get a better deal, independence, from the Byzantines. But this story claims that this time round Rome said no, taking seriously long-term reunion with the Orthodox and so not wanting anymore to snag conversions of born Orthodox at those local churches’ expense. That’s class.

Also, Rome certainly remembers the outcome of the C19 adventure: when Bulgarian Orthodox got church independence from the Greeks/their own patriarch (the Greek patriarch in Constantinople/Istanbul refused to accept it until 1946!), most Bulgarians went back to them and the Bulgarian Catholic Church basically disappeared.

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