The schimastic Orthodox Christian church of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to join its ranks, in a move that is seen as having an important impact on ongoing name talks between Skopje and Athens.
According to an announcement issued on Wednesday, the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy Synod is considering a request from the leadership of FYROM’s church to be inducted under the name “Archbishopric of Ohrid,” as it plans to give up its identity as “Church of Macedonia.”
The request came with a letter from FYROM’s prime minister, Zoran Zaev, addressed to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.
The move is seen as significant as it comes in the wake of reactions from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to a request last November from the FYROM church to join the Church of Bulgaria, which supported the claim.
That incident had prompted a strongly worded reaction from Vartholomaios, who said that “the action of the sister church of Bulgaria was wrong. It complicates matters.”
“The mother church of all Balkan nations is that of Constantinople,” Vartholomaios said.
FYROM’s Orthodox church is currently under the jurisdiction of the Church of Serbia, but was part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until the 1930s.