By Efi Efthimiou
The recognition of the Ohrid Archdiocese continues rapidly, especially with the beginning of the new year, as yesterday the Patriarchate of Georgia was added to the Churches that decided to be in Eucharistic communion with the Church in the neighboring country, in addition to the Patriarchate of Romania and the Church of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which did so a few days ago.
The issue is, however, that the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on May 9, 2022, which “recognizes as the name of this Church the “Ohrid” (meaning the area of this jurisdiction only within the limits of the territory of the state of North Macedonia), as promised in writing to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its Primate, excluding the term “Macedonian” and any other derivative of the word “Macedonia”, is not heard.
The Churches that have recognized the new ecclesiastical entity in the Balkan country, with the exception of Bulgaria, which is awaiting a pan-Orthodox decision on the name issue, do not refer to the “Ohrid Archdiocese” when speaking about the Church of the neighboring country, on the contrary, they include names that include the name “Macedonia”.
The most recent example is the Church of Georgia. At its meeting on February 14, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Georgia decided to enter “into Eucharistic communion with the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia.”
It is characteristic, however, that the Church of Georgia follows the example of the Patriarchate of Romania – following its clarifying announcement – and does not recognize the autocephaly of the Ohrid Archdiocese “granted” by the Patriarchate of Serbia.
In particular, the Holy Synod of the Church of Georgia, in a statement issued, states that the issue of the “Macedonian Orthodox Church” was discussed.
The presentation was made by the President of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate of Georgia, Metropolitan Gerasimos of Zugdidi and Tsaissi.
The Metropolitan presented to the members of the Holy Synod the letter of Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia, in which it is stated that “the schism has been healed and the Eucharistic connection with the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia has been restored”, as well as that the Patriarch of Serbia granted the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Church in question.
As noted in the announcement, the autocephaly of the “Macedonian Church” has been recognized – apart from the Patriarchate of Serbia – by the Churches of Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, while the Churches of Constantinople (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Antioch, Greece, and Poland proceeded to the Eucharistic union without recognizing Autocephaly.
“The Holy Synod of the Church of Georgia has decided: to proceed to Eucharistic communion with the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia, headed by His Beatitude Archbishop Stefan,” the statement concludes.