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Ecumenical Patriarchate: Recognition of schismatic Orthodox Church as ‘Church of Ochrid’

The Sacred and Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, on Monday 9 May, 2022, announced that it was recognising the schismatic Orthodox Church in the Republic of North Macedonia as the “Church of Ochrid”, a reference to the medieval Archbishopric of Ochrid.

The official statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s website announced the recognition of the canonical nature of the largest Orthodox denomination in the land-locked country due north of Greece.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate said the Church of Ochrid will retain ecclesiastical jurisdiction only within the boundaries of the state of North Macedonia, which lies north of the northern Greece province of Macedonia – the land associated with historical Macedonia of antiquity and which covers more than half of geographical Macedonia.

The same announcement said the Primate of the newly canonical Orthodox Church has pledged, in writing, to recognise and adhere to this jurisdiction.

The decision also refers to the exclusion of the use of the term “Macedonian” or any derivatives of the latter for the Church of Ohrid, or Archbishopric of Ochrid.

The announcement also included the following significant passage: “…it is up to the Holy Church of Serbia to standardise administrative issues between it and the Church in North Macedonia, within a framework of hiero-canonical order and ecclesiastical tradition.”