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The Diocese of Morodvis

Being a country of rich history and vast cultural heritage, Macedonia does not readily reveal all of its past and has a lot of secret stories waiting to be discovered and told. One part of our forgotten past are the now extinct urban communities. Former seats of bishops and military commanders, they nurtured rich religious, cultural and economic life, but today they are awaiting their curious investigator, a local Indiana Jones, who will examine the traces of the old dioceses whose bishops were part of the most important Councils that determined the history of the Christian faith.

The first trace of those communities can be found in the surviving tradition of Macedonian Orthodox Church to give its assistant bishops (vicar bishops, who do not have own diocese) titles of former eparchies. These titles lead us to the dioceses of Stobi, Heraclea, Velika and Polin. Another former diocese which at the moment is not associated with the title of a vicar bishop is Morodvis, which today is just a village in Zrnovci municipality at the foothills of Plackovica a few kilometres south of Kocani. The history of the lost diocese lies in the late antiquity archaeological site Morobizdon and the medieval Crkviste. The settlement was inhabited between the 5th and the 7th centuries and later abandoned. It was a rich Roman town in the fertile lands around the river of Bregalnica, and an important point on the eastern roads. In the 9th century, the area was resettled by a Slavic population, and it was part of the Bregalnica region to which Christian missionaries attached a great importance. The hagiography tells us that St. Methodius, one of the creators of the Slavic alphabet, was an active missionary here together with his brother St. Cyril. It is believed that the first churches were built in the area by the Bulgarian commander Taridan, who received the order from the first baptized Bulgarian King Boris Mikhail to Christianize the region. In one of the churches near Bregalnica, the relics of fifteen early Christian martyrs from the neighbouring Tiberiopol (Strumica) were buried.  Read more …