The Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece expressed its satisfaction with the decisions of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding the Archdiocese of Ohrid, after the conclusion of its two-day meeting, while it remains skeptical and expresses objections to the stance of the Patriarchate of Serbia on the issue.
In particular, it states that it was informed of the decisions of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding the settlement of the schism that existed in 1967 and the restoration of ecclesiastical communion with the Church of the neighbouring country of Skopje, under Archbishop Stefanos.
He was also informed of the decisions of the Hierarchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the issue.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece declares its “satisfaction with the Letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the issue, because he considers it to be a “comfort” to the Holy Clergy and the pious Greek people, as it meets the expectations both for the naming of the ecclesiastical entity of the neighbouring State without using the precious name of “Macedonia” as a constituent or derivative, and for the determination of its limits only within the boundaries of the State”.
It also adds that it has decided with particular sensitivity to refer the issue to the Synodal Committees: a) on Doctrinal and Legal-Canonical Issues and b) on Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian Relations, in order to examine the issue in detail and to recommend to the Holy Synod the way of further handling it.
On the occasion of the Letter of the Patriarchate of Serbia, the Holy Synod expresses its serious objections and doubts: (a) on the use of the term “Macedonian Orthodox Church”, assigned by the Church of Serbia to the Church of Ohrid; (b) on the mention of “Diaspora” of the Church of Ohrid; and (c) on any granting of Autocephaly by the Patriarchate of Serbia, since the only competent authority for granting Autocephaly is the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Finally, the Holy Synod hopes that the Hierarchy of the Holy Archdiocese of Ohrid, under Archbishop Stephen, will make constructive use of its reintegration into ecclesiastical communion and the removal of the schism, avoiding earlier ethno-racial claims, which have indeed been condemned as heresy by the Holy and Great Synod of 1872 in Constantinople.
The report on the charitable work
The Holy Synod was informed by the Synodal Committee on Social Welfare and Charity of the Report on the Expenditure of the Charitable Ministry for the year 2021 of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and the Holy Metropolises of the Church of Greece.
According to the said Report, the charitable structures amount to 4,283, the beneficiaries to 831,272, the volunteers in the ministry of the Foundations to 14,953, the annual expenditure to 113,997,845.68 euros and the food to 2,271,909 kilos.