The Orthodox Christian church of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has applied to join the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the name ‘Archbishopric of Ohrid.’
A statement by the Patriarchate says the Holy Synod is considering the application of the “schismatic” church to “return to normality”.
The same statement notes that the application was supported by a letter from FYROM’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
The move by the FYROM church to give up its identity as the ‘Church of Macedonia’ is seen as having an important impact on the continuing name talks between Skopje and Athens.
FYROM’s Orthodox church is currently under the jurisdiction of the Church of Serbia, but was part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until the 1930s.
In recent months, the FYROM church formally asked the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to become its mother church.
The move was condemned by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.
“The mother church of all Balkan nations is that of Constantinople,” he said.