June 6, 2022

Archbishop Stefan of Ochrid on Receiving Autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate

In his first interview after the removal of the Schism, Archbishop Stefan of Ochrid spoke to the Greek media To Vima (June 5, 2022) and expressed his respect for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The interview of Archbishop Stefan was given before the concelebration of Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia with Archbishop Stefan of Ochrid (from the day the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to restore the former schismatic Church of Skopje) in the Cathedral of Belgrade during which His Beatitude handed over to His Eminence the Tomos of Autocephaly.

From the interview of Archbishop Stefan of Ochrid to the journalist Maria Antoniadou in To Vima we read:

"Will Autocephaly finally be granted to you by the Ecumenical Patriarchate or by the Patriarchate of Serbia?"

"There is order in the Orthodox tradition. We hope to receive autocephaly as all the post-Chalcedonian Churches have received it. We neither ask for, nor want, nor are we entitled to an instant solution, we do not want something that will put the Archdiocese of Ochrid in the middle of the road or at a dead end.

In the pre-synod conferences, as well as in the conversations in Chambesy, the issue of the concession of the autocephaly was raised, that is, for it to be done with some pan-Orthodox consent and to be co-signed by all the leaders of the Churches.

The Ecumenical Patriarch showed great condescension, he also renounced his own privileges, so as to achieve general pleasure and finally peace in Orthodox relations. But what was to be agreed was not agreed and was not accepted and was not implemented as a valid regulation by a pan-Orthodox decision.

The tradition therefore remained in force, for only the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant a tomos of autocephaly, while the other Churches are to accept this with respect."