Macedonian Church: We must fully preserve Macedonian identity

Skopje, July 6, 2022

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Any proposal for facilitating North Macedonia’s accession to the EU must fully preserve the Macedonian identity or it will be rejected, say the hierarchs of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric.

Following its session yesterday, the Macedonian Holy Synod issued a response to the new French proposal, calling for society to unite and for any protests to be carried out peacefully.

France sent a draft proposal to North Macedonia last week for how to iron out issues with Bulgaria, which has been blocking North Macedonia’s path to the EU since 2020 over a history and identity dispute.

“Bulgaria insists that the Macedonian identity and language are of Bulgarian origin. It also says Bulgarians are repressed in North Macedonia, and must be included in the country’s constitution as a state-founding ethnicity,” reports Balkan Insight.

Many in North Macedonia reject the proposal, which envisions including bilateral disputes between Skopje and Sofia in the EU negotiating framework. Protests were held in Skopje over the weekend.

President Stevo Pendarovski has said the proposal isn’t great, but is generally acceptable as a basis for progress.

However, the Macedonian hierarchs share the concerns of Macedonians. The Synod’s statement issued yesterday reads:

At its extraordinary session held on July 5, 2022, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archdiocese (MOC-OA) discussed the current situation in Macedonian society.

With concern, the Holy Synod examined the situation caused by the latest modified French proposal, as well as the consequences that would result from it, and once again appeals for the inviolable preservation of Macedonian national interests.

As a Synod, we expect the government and all other socio-political factors involved in this process to unite and build a strategy that will fully preserve the Macedonian identity, Macedonian language, culture, and history in the family of European nations.

The Synod informs the public that if the Macedonian distinctiveness is threatened in any form, the MOC-OA will not accept it.

At the same time, we call on the Macedonian people and all citizens in Macedonian society to fully unite, while using all democratic means to preserve their existence. Those, on the other hand, who have decided to exercise their right through a protest, should do so with dignity, without violence, and without destruction of public goods.

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Alexandros10/22/2022 11:53 am
@Editor It is very unfortunate, because regardless of the Serbians on this issue, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate made it clear that they recognized them only as the Archdiocese of Ohrid, and that the term “Macedonian” and any other derivative of the word “Macedonia” are to be specifically excluded (because they are not Macedonian in any way). If they were only referred to in the way they were officially recognized, as Ohrid, there would be much more peace among the Faithful. I do also understand the stance of Bulgaria on the name of Ohrid, but with the long history and issues caused by Vardarska wrongfully stealing our Macedonian name, it should be avoided, as it brings “great sadness and sorrow” to the Holy Community of Mount Athos and the Holy Athonite Saints who fought against this foreign propaganda. Indeed, as you reported, the Sacred Community of Holy Mount Athos has united its voice with us, the great many hierarchs, clergy, and millions of faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church. As the Garden of the Theotokos Holy Mount Athos said, “We do not accept that the Macedonian identity be given away to a language and people having no relation to the ancient Macedonian Greek dialect and the Greek origin of the ancient Macedonians” and that everyone should be careful about “taking positions contrary to the academic truth and historical reality.” Holy Mount Athos prays that “The Defender of the Holy Mountain, the Most Holy Theotokos, enlighten those involved, that they might realize their mistakes, that they might correct them.” This is a very serious issue, and all 20 of the holy monasteries of Mount Athos are in agreement on this matter. But this is NOT a disputed matter for the historians, as the Greekness of Macedonians is universally acknowledged, according to literally every legitimate study and research. The word “Macedonia” itself is literally a Greek word, from Μακεδόνες meaning the “highlanders”, and the name Alexander is also from Greek, ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, from two ancient Greek words, αλέξειν (alexin) “to defend, protect” and ἀνδρός (andros) “man.” Alexander the Great was Greek, spoke Greek, the ancient Macedonians were Greeks and the ancient Macedonian language was the Greek language, and King Alexander spread Greek Hellenic culture throughout the world. These are the basic facts, as even Holy Prophet Daniel wrote. This is why the Old Testament Scriptures were translated into the Greek Septuagint used by our Holy Orthodox Church, and is why the New Testament is written in Greek. As Saint Paisios said, “As a people, we (the Greeks) have a great responsibility to God. From ancient times, God has shown us His special favor. It was in His providence the creation of the infinite state of Alexander the Great, in order to transmit the lights of Greek Civilization to the barbarians and, in particular, the Greek Language, in order to spread more easily, in the middle of it, the Holy Gospel.” On the other hand, the current citizens of the former yugoslavic republic speak a Slavo-Bulgarian dialect, use Serbian Cyrillic, and are in fact Bulgarians, genetically, linguistically, and culturally. As even their own first president, Kiro Gilgorov (1991-1999), admitted himself: “We are slavs who came in this area in the 6th century AD, there is no connection between us and Alexander the Great, we are not the descendants of the ancient Macedonians.” Also, Ljubčo Georgievski, who served as their only vice president and their 3rd prime minister, said, “In every place where Alexander left a trace of his presence, it was a trace of his Greek origin, and today we have and can see hundreds of monuments from his time period where he starts with the words: ‘I, the Hellene (Greek) Alexander…’ and after the death of Alexander, the world that he builds and leaves behind is a Greek world and is called ‘the Hellenization,’ and these are the clear indicators that the entire world science has recognized. Why don’t we want to understand that?”
Editor10/21/2022 11:10 am
Respected Alexandros: We appreciate your comment, and see you point. But please understand, that anyone outside of Greece who writes news about the Church situation in North Macedonia stands between a rock and a hard place. We simply have no other way to name the people of that land than what they call themselves, however offensive that may be to Greeks. This is, by the way, a situation that happens all around the world, with many other disputed names of territories. It is a matter for the historians. We do not intend to offend anyone or claim to be historians, but the currently accepted term for that land is North Macedonia, and the autocephalous Church (which the Serbian Orthodox Church and others have now peacefully accepted) is being called the Macedonian Orthodox Church. We conform to this terminology for purposes of briefly writing about events there. We humbly beg your condescension in this matter.
Alexandros10/21/2022 9:32 am
How horrible this is, this wicked propaganda. It is truly shameful. Not only does the Holy Bible confirm that Macedonia is Greece and that Alexander the Great was Greek, but the Saints also confirm this. It is no wonder that the Holy Orthodox Saints of God prophesied the collapse of this fake country of Vardarska, due to their years of shameless lies and forgeries. One of those who spoke about this is the great Saint Paisios, considered to be the greatest Saint of the last century, a Saint so holy that he was visited numerous times by the Theotokos, Angels, and Saints on Holy Mount Athos. The following are quotes from his book called “The Life of Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain” written by his close disciple Hieromonk Isaac: “As the Prophets of Israel actively participated in the life of their nation in their own way, they prayed, mourned, moved kings, preached repentance, and prophesied about the coming sufferings, the Elder was also not indifferent and apathetic to the issues of the Fatherland. The Prophet was not a nationalist who said: “For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, I will not remain quiet (Isaiah 62:1).” Likewise, the Elder's attitude was pure and spiritual. Though he lived outside the world (on Holy Mount Athos), he fought like few others for the good of the Fatherland. Admirable was his activity and contribution to our external national issues. He spoke against the anti-Hellenic currents, the forgers of the historical truth, and above all against the unjust territorial claims made against Greece by the Skopians . . . He pointed out ethnic dangers before they even appeared. It helped many to clearly see the foreign propaganda against the Fatherland, and those who had positions and sensitivity, took the appropriate measures. Already in 1977, when he went to Australia, the Elder mentioned the Macedonian issue. Defending the Greekness of Macedonia, he posted in his Archontariki the text of the Prophet Daniel referring to the King of the Greeks, Alexander, (Daniel 8:20-21; 10:20) next to it a large paper image of an Angel from a Serbian Monastery to show the text. He likened the state of Skopje to a building that is built of bricks and jelly, which are cut into the shape of bricks, and that one day it will collapse. The book of the former minister [and historian] of Northern Greece, Mr. Nikolaos Martis, called "The Falsification of Macedonia", made the Elder enthusiastic when he read it. "Glory to God", he said, "There are also patriots". He took many books and distributed them with a blessing. The Elder also wrote a praise poem [for Macedonia in Greece, the only true Macedonia], which Mr. Martis included in a new edition of his book.” ^ This is from the book of Saint Paisios. The Saint had great love for the true Greek Macedonia, and to some pilgrims who distributed free Orthodox Christian books, he was telling them to also buy and distribute Mr. Martis’ book on the true Greek Macedonian History. Indeed, the Holy Bible says that the Holy Apostle Paul traveled to Macedonia in northern Greece. Acts 16–17 gives the account of St. Paul’s church-planting activities in Macedonia. They are ALL cities in Greece, because Macedonia is Greek only and only in Greece. The churches planted were Philippi (Acts 16:12–40), Thessaloniki the capital of Macedonia (Acts 17:1–9), and Veria (Acts 17:10–14). Furthermore, as Saint Paisios said, the Holy Prophet Daniel in the Old Testament prophesies Alexander the Great as the “King of Greece” and his coming empire as a Greek Kingdom (Daniel 8:20-21; 10:20). Greek became the universal language, and Greek culture was required in all parts of Alexander the Great’s Empire. The Greekness of Macedonians is the basic accepted world truth. The word “Macedonia” itself is literally a Greek word, from Μακεδόνες meaning the “highlanders.” This website must STOP taking part in the horrible sin of the Yugoslavs attempting to steal our Greek Macedonian identity and heritage. Right NOW.
Panagiotis7/10/2022 2:23 am
God bless my Macedonian Brothers. They have a right to be proud of their own identity as they see it, just like they now have their own independent Macedonian Orthodox Church. I supported the independent Macedonian Orthodox Church for years, when most others strongly opposed it. Yes, my Bulgarian Orthodox Brothers are correct in that the North Macedonian people are predominantly of Bulgarian blood, and they speak a dialect of the Bulgarian language, And yes in the past they were known as Bulgarians. But they are now in their own country, and most of them want to be known as a separate people, and they have a right to identify themselves as a separate people, as long as they do not make inaccurate claims on other people's lands or history. Hopefully the next step for my North Macedonian Brothers, and all of my Orthodox Brothers in their own respective ethnic Nations, is the establishment of an Orthodox Monarchy within each Orthodox Nation. There should be many families of noble ancestry who are strong Orthodox in Greece, Serbia, North Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, etc..... Just my humble opinion....
Ivan7/8/2022 11:10 pm
@C.B. I haven’t read such a beautiful explanation for the situation in my country. Thank you! How do you know the history in the Balkans? We are attacked from everywhere.. glory to God.
C.B.7/8/2022 11:50 am
Who ever says focus on faith only, sorry but that is not realistic. The Christianity of the Balkans, including Macedonia, is impregnated into the culture. Do you understand what this means? Every cultural celebration ( unlike in the West) is tied to a feast of a saint, every tradition and social gathering that brings people together in Macedonia is tied to the church. If you do away with the Macedonian identity, you do away with their preservation of their Christianity. Sorry to say, but it's not the Macedonians wish to focus on the nationalistic topics, rather the brutal Un-Christian treatment of its so called Orthodox neighbours that want to do away with it for their own nationalistic personal agenda. May Christ prevail and save the Christ loving people of Macedonia, who have fought to preserve who they are as a nation and as ancient Christians!
Makedonec7/7/2022 11:08 pm
@Alex be aware, Macedonians are neither Greeks neither Bulgarians, NATO and Soros mercenaries who dare touch a single hair of Macedonian Orthodox will soon repent. Acte 16 9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a Macedonian was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 2 Corenthians 8 1We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
Ivan7/7/2022 7:55 pm
@Alex: Can i please get the source for the prophecy of saint Paisios? Thank you.
Michael 7/7/2022 5:51 am
See this the problem! Everyone is focused on cultural identity instead of the faith and repentance! No wonder we have schisms We are not one apostolic church, we are 14 confederations! We need to unite and focus on the faith!!!!
Alex7/6/2022 10:23 pm
I was watching today's edition of UKColumn news. They had a segment on Macedonia in which they said it is teetering on the brink of collapse. Apparently the Macedonians of Albanian extract are getting rather twitchy. Is this the end do we know? Will the false construct known as ''Macedonia'' finally collapse as was prophesied by our very own Gerondas Paisios. Listen to what Alex has to say for yourselves - it's at around 55:25 mark of the video
Barbara Kostalucas-Jones 7/6/2022 8:01 pm
I am a widow of two months, and I am discovering the faith of my father. I am bringing my 9 children to the orthodoxy, any information and prayer would be helpful.
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