Even as FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev was declaring that Athens and Skopje are very close to a naming settlement, he and the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric were writing to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to allow the local church to be re-incorporated into the canonical order of the Eastern Orthodox Church with the title Archdiocese of Ohrid.
The move was viewed as a good will gesture from Skopje, as the Macedonian bit, which was opposed by the Church of Greece and others, would be left out (it was only adopted in the 1940’s) and the local church with an ancient diocese would gain recognition of its long-sought autocephalous status.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate – which is first Church in the entire hierarchy of Eastern Christendom – hastened to announce that it will do what is necessary “under the inviolable terms and historico-canonical authority and privileges of the first-throne Ecumenical Patriarchate”
The announcement made clear that the petitioners requested that the Church be recognised as the Archbishopric of Ohrid.
Within hours, however, possibly due to a domestic backlash, the press in Skopje was quoting a bishop of the local Church as saying that there was no request or intention to remove the name Macedonia from the title of an eventually autocephalous local Church.
That line was also articulated in parliament by Zaev, whose letter to the Ecumenical Patriarchate accompanied that of the Church, as according to canon law the concurring opinion of state authorities must accompany a request for autocephaly.