POLITICAL PARTY OF THE MACEDONIAN MINORITY IN GREECE
Member of the European Free Alliance - European Political Party (EFA-EPP)
Member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN)
Stefanou Dragoumi 11 Τ.Κ. 53100 Τ.Θ. 51 Greece; Tel/fax 0030 23850 46548
Macedonian Language to be included in Church Mass
6 March, 2019
His All Holiness, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, Principal Bartholomew.
Your All Holiness,
Through this letter we wish to address to You important issues and, at the same time, to place before You a humble request concerning us Orthodox Christians of the ethnic Macedonian minority of Greece.
We kindly and humbly ask of Your All Holiness to see the possibility of church mass being conducted in our native Modern Macedonian language, a language which belongs to the wider family of South Slavic languages, and whose alphabet was devised in the 9th century AD. century in Thessaloniki, by the Equal-to-the-Apostles Saints Cyril and Methodius.
More specifically, we wish the Divine Liturgy to take place in the Modern Macedonian language at least some Sundays of the year, in the regions where Orthodox Christian Macedonian speaking citizens of Greece live.
Allow us, with the opportunity of writing to You, to let You know that since 1913 we, native Modern Macedonian language-speaking Orthodox Christians, Macedonian ethnics of Greece’s New Territories (Nees Chores), through numerous actions and measures such as persecutions and bans, have, to say the least, experienced human rights restraints.
Since the beginning of the last century, Church, State and shady quasi-state organisations operating in Greece, sometimes silently, other times with the use of violence, with threats and intimidation, have caused on our community profound changes such as the gradual abandonment of our mother tongue, the adoption of new names and other such resultant changes, all of which have seriously affected our national identity. In the past, Metropolitan Bishops in Northern Greece were leading figures in actions such as, for example, the demolition of old Macedonian Orthodox temples with icons and frescos inscribed in the Cyrillic alphabet on the pretext that they were derelict.
Even to this day, we are victims of implicit hostility and intolerance on the part of a significant portion of the Metropolitan Church Authorities of the New Territories, and that is precisely why we are addressing this issue to You directly, through our political body, Rainbow (Ouranio Toxo)
Knowing that the Metropolises of the New Territories of Northern Greece are under Your pastoral guidance and Your formal jurisdiction, we solemnly appeal directly to Your Grace and Your All Holiness for this request.
Following the ratification of the Prespa Agreement between the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Northern Macedonia, the time has come for an end to the injustice done to us, the minority of Greece’s Macedonian ethnics, speakers of Modern Macedonian, of Orthodox Christian faith, and citizens of the Hellenic Republic, who belong to the Metropolises of the New Territories. We would like to see the question of observance in our native language resolved through dialogue.
We anticipate the same fervour in Your embracing us as You have shown to the Romeic minority of Constantinople. It is no true democracy one which lacks tolerance towards minorities, a saw that Your All Holiness never fails to say in every occasion. We solemnly ask of You, Highest earthly Pastor of our congregation, with all Your understanding, to oversee that certain religious minority rights -i.e. to sing hymns and hear prayers in our native Modern Macedonian language and to baptize our children with our traditional names- are upheld.
We hereby take the opportunity to express our wish to meet Your All Holiness, in order to put forward in more detail the petition, and, more specifically, to inform You of which Parishes of the Metropolises of the New Territories include Orthodox Christian Macedonian ethnics, speakers of Modern Macedonian, ones, that is, who wish the Divine Liturgy service to be given, along with the Greek language, in Modern Macedonian language (by, say, alternating the chanting of prayers between the two, at least on some Sundays of the year).
We also solemnly ask that priests of the Metropolises of the New Territories which include congregation of our minority to use names specific to our mother tongue, be it for Christening or for funeral and for in Memoriam services, names like Zora, Sofka, Stojanka, Boris, Zlatka, Dore, Stojko, Tome, Dorka, Goce, Velika, Kiril, Slava, Trajko, Spase, Koljo, Kitka, Stojan,Petko, Mitre, Sveta, Trajce, Trajanka, Svetko, Risto, Petka, Vaska, etc
To reinforce the argument behind our petition we attach the narrative of a chanter in a local church choire, a person whose military duty had brought him to our area about 15 years ago.
This narrative explains the displeasure, on the one hand, of the Modern Macedonian speaking Orthodox Christians, and the uneasiness, on the other hand, exhibited by the priests when, during the Sacrament, they are forced to call parishioners in a name other than that by which they are popularly known.
It is at least disrespectful for the dead when, for example, the priest is forced in a funeral or a Memorial service, to recall the deceased instead of by their real name but by its hellenised version (for example Avgi instead of Zora), a name which they had never been called by before passing away. “Not even God knew her by it [Avgi]” as it is characteristically mentioned in chanter’s narrative.
Awaiting your kind response soon. We are always at your disposal for any further information.
The EFA-Rainbow Press Office