The decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch to admit the Macedonian church in canonical unity is seen as a major victory in the decades long struggle to establish the MOC church as equal, but also comes with some red flags.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate is dominated by Greeks, who bitterly oppose Macedonia’s right to use the name Macedonia. Because of this, the decision insists that the church is admitted under the name Ohrid Archbishopric, while its jurisdiction is described as the territory of (North) Macedonia.

The decision of the Phanar Patriarch specifically declares that it does not include the use of the term “Macedonian” or any of its derivatives and implies that this was guaranteed in writing to the Ecumenical Patriarch. This portion of the decision was not included in the initial press release.

This raised serious doubts that there will be a push to force the Macedonian Orthodox Church to change its name, much like Greece and its international partners forced Macedonia to do. Bishop Timotej insisted that the church is not giving up on its name, and will continue to use the adjective Macedonian along with the name Ohrid Archbishopric. But the public is watching closely how this situation will develop.