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Ohrid Archdiocese sets up committee to address Ukrainian issue and its name with Greek-speaking Churches

The Holy Synod of the Ohrid Archdiocese proceeded to the establishment of a committee that will address the Ukrainian ecclesiastical issue and the “problem” concerning its name in relation to the Greek-speaking Churches.

According to reports in the local press, the Holy Synod, which met in the previous days, raised the issue of the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, signaling a potential shift in the Ohrid Archdiocese’s position on this matter.

In an official statement, the Synod emphasised its commitment to thoroughly examine, through the committee, the status of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine which was granted Autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Bregalnički was appointed Chairman of the Committee and Bishop Joachim of Deljandrovsko-Ilidensky was appointed Vice-Chairman.

According to the Holy Synod’s announcement, this Committee aims to examine the issue of “the name of their Holy Church in relation to the Greek-speaking Churches.”

It is recalled that almost two years ago, the Ecumenical Patriarchate lifted the “isolation” of the Church of the Balkan country, as it received in Eucharistic communion “the hierarchy, the clergy and the people of this Church under Archbishop Stefan.”

The Ecumenical Patriarchate recognised “Ohrid” as the name of the Church (with jurisdiction limited to the country’s territory, that is the state of North Macedonia). This recognition came with the exclusion of terms like “Macedonian” or derivatives following written assurances from Archbishop Stefan to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Since then, there have been attempts by both the Serbian and Russian Orthodox Churches to influence the Ohrid Archdiocese and its Primate. The first one exerts influence over the granting of a “Tomos of Autocephaly” to Ohrid Archdiocese and the other one over the rapid recognition of its “autocephaly.” But the Church and State in Skopje seem to be waiting for the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

The Churches that have recognised the new ecclesiastical entity in the Balkan country (GeorgiaRomaniaCzech Republic-Slovakia, with the exception of Bulgaria, which is awaiting a pan-Orthodox decision on the issue of the name, do not refer to the ”Ohrid Archdiocese” when talking about the Church of the country. On the contrary, they use other names including the name “Macedonia.”