North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski has welcomed the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to recognise North Macedonia’s Orthodox church as the Church of Ohrid.
On Monday, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, declared North Macedonia’s church, led by Archbishop Stefan, to be canonical and valid in the entire Orthodox world, thus establishing canonical and liturgical unity with it and its membership and “healing the wound of the schism.”
At a meeting with Archbishop Stefan in Skopje on Tuesday, Kovachevski described the decision as historic, noting that it had been expected.
He also congratulated Stefan on the fact that the Patriarchate deems the hierarchy, the clergy and the people of the Church under Archbishop Stefan to be in Eucharistic communion and that they were no longer at odds with the Orthodox world.
In a statement, the Ecumenical Patriarchate noted that the Church of Ohrid not use the name “Macedonia” or any of its derivatives.
The Church of Serbia must now settle some administrative issues with the Church in North Macedonia, the statement added.
The Skopje Orthodox Church seceded from the Serbian Patriarchate in 1967, proclaiming itself the “Macedonian Orthodox Church,” a move not recognized by any other official Orthodox church.
In November 2009, the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” added to its name the suffix “Archdiocese of Ohrid,” proclaiming itself to be the successor to the old Archdiocese of Ohrid.
On Tuesday, North Macedonia’s Holy Synod expressed its gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the decision.