CHURCH-NATIONAL STRUGGLE IN MACEDONIA FROM 1870 THROUGH 1913

неделя, 22 декември 2019 г.

The church-national struggle continued almost four decades and ended on February 27, 1870, with the foundation of an independent Bulgarian church hierarchy in the form of a Bulgarian hexarchy by virtue of a decree of the sultan. The construction of the Bulgarian hexarchy was a hard and difficult process because of the constant obstacles prepared by both the Tzarigrad Patriarchy and the dilatory Ottoman administration. 

Representatives of all Bulgarian hexarchy eparchies, including of the Macedonian, participated in the First Church-Peoples Council, which was summoned in 1871 in Tzarigrad. They worked out and signed a Hexarchy Statutes, which contained rather progressive and democratic principles of government of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Hexarchy work, which was created with so much labour and devotedness, was disturbed by the Liberation Russian-Turkish war. After the Berlin Congress, which atrociously tore the San-Stefano Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Hexarchy was put at a crossroad. After long disputes, it was decided that the seat of the Hexarchy had to remain in Tzarigrad and from Tzarigrad the church had to care for its units in Macedonia and Odrin Thrace. 

Thus, by the end of 1913 the Bulgarian Orthodox Church had one foreman (Exarch Joseph I), however it went two different ways of development. In Macedonia and the region of Odrin struggle for the affirmation and the expansion of the hexarchy diocese and for the educational and cultural regain of consciousness of the enslaved Bulgarian people was led. Until the end of 1912 7 eparchies governed by hexarchy bishops were established, 8 eparchies in Macedonia and one in the region of Odrin were governed by “hexarchy vicars”; they incorporated about 1600 temples and chapels, 73 monasteries and 1310 priests.

 The number of the hexarchy schools totaled to 1373 (of which 13 high schools and 87 pre-high schools) with 2266 teachers and 78.854 pupils. After the First National Catastrophe (The Inter-Allies War of 1913) the hexarchy diocese was strongly narrowed, the seat of the Hexarchy was moved to Sofia, however, the hexarchy representation, which held the doors for new future expansions open, remained in Tzarigrad. For three decades after the death of Exarch Joseph (1915), the church was governed by the vicar-chairmen of the Holy Synod.

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