Albanian Church enters into communion with Macedonian-Ohrid Church

Tirana, Albania, February 27, 2023

Met. Nicholas of Apollonia of the Albanian Church (right) visited the Macedonian Church’s Bigorski Monastery in September, where he was greeted by its abbot Bp. Partenij of Atanije (left) and the brotherhood. Photo: Met. Nicholas of Apollonia of the Albanian Church (right) visited the Macedonian Church’s Bigorski Monastery in September, where he was greeted by its abbot Bp. Partenij of Atanije (left) and the brotherhood. Photo:     

February has been a momentous month for the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric, as the Holy Synods of no less than four Local Churches have resolved to enter into communion with it.

Earlier this month, the Churches of Romania and of the Czech Lands and Slovakia explicitly recognized the Macedonian Church as both canonical and autocephalous, while the Holy Synod of the Georgian Church chose to simply enter into communion with it, without recognizing its autocephaly.

And on Thursday, February 23, the Holy Synod of the Albanian Orthodox Church announced its own communion with the Macedonian Church, specifying that its final name and status are to be granted by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Albanian Synodal communiqué reads:

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, during its session of February 23, 2023 under the presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, reiterated that it gladly welcomes the decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, of last May 2022, that “It accepts into Eucharistic communion the hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the Church under Archbishop Stefan… It recognizes the name of this Church as ‘Ohrid’ (meaning the area of its jurisdiction lies only within the boundaries of the territory of the state of North Macedonia).”

During the intervening period the Orthodox Church in Albania did not proceed with any public statements, awaiting the fulfillment of the required ecclesiastical procedures. Fully agreeing that by the aforementioned decision, widely acceptable, the wound of the existing schism is healed and that the peace and the unity of the entire pleroma are secured, it awaits the definite regulation of the status of autocephaly and the exact name of the new Local Church granted properly by the revered center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Last June, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece made a similar decision, recognizing the canonicity of the Macedonian Church but explicitly rejecting the autocephaly granted it by the Serbian Orthodox Church. It also followed Constantinople in dictating that the Church’s territory be confined to the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, which would deprive it of its four diaspora dioceses in Europe, North America, and Australia and New Zealand.

The name of the Church also remains a sore spot, as Greek-speaking Churches argue that because Macedonia is historically Greek, the neighboring republic and its Orthodox Church therefore don’t have the right to choose their own name. On the other hand, the Bulgarian Church rejects the name “Ohrid” for the Macedonian-Ohrid Church because it understands itself as the continuation of the historical Ohrid Archbishopric.

For its part, the Macedonian Holy Synod announced last week that it will continue to defend and uphold both its autocephalous status and its name.


Overall, the autocephaly of the Macedonian Church is recognized by the Churches of Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Romania, in addition to the Serbian Church that granted it.

Meanwhile, the Churches of Constantinople, Greece, Antioch, Georgia, and Albania recognize the Macedonian Church as canonical but not autocephalous.

MOC hierarchs and clergy have also concelebrated with hierarchs and clergy from the Churches of Jerusalem and and the Orthodox Church in America, though their Synods haven’t formally addressed the issue.

Thus far, there have no been Synodal decisions from or concelebrations with hierarchs or clergy of the Churches of Alexandria and Cyprus.

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Christina4/28/2023 3:54 am
I hope that the Macedonian Church will be recognized as autocephalous by more Churches. The further it gets from the heretic Bartholomew who pretends to be an orthodox pope, the better. Look at the pain it caused Ukraine. He can sit in Turkey and write tomoses all he wants. Sooner or later all other Churches must stop communion with him and he can have his own schismatic church and be the head of it. Ukraine is bleeding because of him but all he cares about is more power. It is time we turn his back on him.
Pfmd3/23/2023 8:03 pm
Peter c: it is important for Orthodoxy and in the secular world to recognize entities by their proper names. When a name is heard, the mind evokes a landscape of facts of that entity whether good, bad, positive or indifferent. So when we hear a “name”, within a second we understand what is being named. The name “Macedonia” and “North Macedonia” are two completely different entities in time, spirit, location, history, economics, belief, culture, and in religion. To excoriate the Greek community for their persistence in separating the two entities is wrong and biased. Would you not disagree it is ludicrous if Mexico wanted to name its main church as the United States America church.
Peter C.2/27/2023 6:18 pm
The Greeks are already here to show how heretical it is for North Macedonia to use that name. Their nationalism seems more important to them than the orthodoxy of the faith, as if North Macedonia were the only country in the world to use the name of an ancient kingdom.
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