POLITICAL PARTY OF THE MACEDONIAN MINORITY IN GREECE
Member of the European Free Alliance - European Political Party
Member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN)
Stefanou Dragoumi 11 Τ.Κ. 53100 Τ.Θ. 51 Greece; Tel/fax 0030
Macedonian Language to be included in Church Mass
6 March, 2019
To: 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,
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
Awaiting your kind response soon. We are always at your disposal
for any further information.
The EFA-Rainbow Press Office