An influential group of Greek Orthodox clergy has backed a forthcoming Athens rally against the use of ‘Macedonia’ by FYROM, putting it at odds with the church’s leader.
The Association of Greek Clerics on Thursday backed the rally, despite earlier comments from Ieronymos II, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, who said “prudence, unity and sobriety” should prevail.
However, the priests say the Feb. 4 rally set for Athens’ Syntagma Square is in line with the church’s official opposition to the use of ‘Macedonia’ by Greece’s northern neighbor.
A list of UN-backed proposals for a new FYROM name were released earlier this month, causing more upset in Greece as each formulation included the word ‘Macedonia’.
On Wednesday evening, FYROM premier Zoran Zaev indicated his country would rename its ‘Alexander the Great’ international airport and a major highway as goodwill gesture.
Most Greeks, however, still view the use of ‘Macedonia’ by FYROM as a claim on Greek territory, identity and history.