The second man of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, said that Moscow wants to mediate between Belgrade and Skopje on the church dispute, reported Religious Information Agency (VIA) today.

“Russian Orthodox Church can not unilaterally recognize the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC). It should be done on the basis of all-Christian decision, and we are ready to be mediators”, stated Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, who is in charge of foreign affairs of the ROC, for Bulgarian media.

Last month, Alfeyev visited Skopje, where he met with the head of the MOC-OA, Archbishop g.g. Stefan, head of state Gjorgje Ivanov and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. He also discussed with deposed bishop Jovan Vranishkovski, who was imprisoned for financial fraud.

One day after the visit of Hilarion to Macedonia, in a statement on its website, MOC-OA reported that they asked state authorities for mercy Jovan Vranishkovski, i.e. for his release from further serving the sentence.

There is still no reply to the request of MOC-OA.

VIA reminds us that it is possible that it is the matter of an offer for self-government of MOC regarding SOC, relationship that already exists in the church relationship between Moscow and Kiev, as well as with the churches in Moldova, Estonia and Latvia.

Thus, the church would have broad autonomy, and the selection of the head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church would receive blessing from the Belgrade patriarch, VIA points out.