News and events


It is not nice indeed to see a man in a clerical cassock going to prison. And we are much sorry for that. Certainly, it is not nice to see anyone going to prison nor do we wish anyone that. On the contrary, the Church everyday prays and it is incumbent on it to pray for and help those who are in prison. Yet, likewise, it is not nice and not only not nice but it is also very nasty, and great evil, too – to be completely open, a genuine satanic deed – when someone is trying, by means of huge lies, threats and political games to hold captive (isolated) for the communion with the other Orthodox Churches and with the other Orthodox nations three million Orthodox Christians and the Church in which they are in communion with Christ (just because they were born and feel as Macedonians, and the one negates them or does not recognize them under that name).

            Indeed it is not nice to knock down or damage whosever religious building or shrine. And we are sorry for that, whenever and wherever it may happen. Yet, it is great evil and a genuine satanic deed when one is trying through creation of a parallel hierarchy to ruin and destroy a living Church, Body of Christ, and that only because of the administrative name that Church bears, Macedonian Orthodox Church. To ruin a Church comprised of millions of living persons. Comprised of people who want to be saved, people who constantly seek and need God’s help, people who in tears and repentance confess their sins and people who in yearning expect and communicate of the Body and Blood of Christ. Comprised of people who are our brothers Christians and for whom Christ suffered so much. Children of God with whom Christ identifies Himself: inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me (Matt. 25:45)! Moreover, an attempt is being made to destroy a living Church which in the last ten years has been giving its most beautiful fruits, and these are the renewed monasticism and the living monasteries, a refuge and consolation to numberless wounded and ill Christian souls, and also spiritual centers from which the new Episcopes of the field of God already came as well.

            Of imprisonment of a clerical person in a physical prison on the basis of a verdict and of physical knocking down of a material shrine on the basis of a decision of a competent governmental organ (in default of a planning permission) accused before the whole world are the Macedonian State and Church. Of the attempt to hold in the prison of administrative isolation and of the attempt to destroy the living church community of the Holy Spirit, comprised of living persons who are in great need of and seek the visible liturgical community with the other brothers Christians as well, we are accusing the Serbian Church and State. All this, let us be honest, is familiar to all the Churches and the aim of our writing is not to justify anyone or accuse anyone. Still, naturally the question imposes: whose deed is more serious, if it is possible to make any comparison whatsoever? The physical imprisonment of one man and the physical knocking down of the material shrine in the beginning of its construction or the spiritual prison of a whole nation and the destruction of the spiritual shrine comprised of living persons in the image of God? It is obvious, to every well-intentioned man, let alone to any Christian or an Episcope, the disproportionate, we would say mild reaction of the Macedonian State in comparison with the great crime the Serbian Church and State are trying to execute in the Republic of Macedonia. The response of our State when compared with the Serbian fratricidal venture may be assessed as an ordinary pedagogical measure or a child’s game.

            And what is happening after all…? While the former (the Macedonian State and Church) from positions of state and church isolation are timidly trying to explain to the world and to the local Orthodox Churches their condition and their actions, the latter (the Serbian Church and State) from their established church and state positions are additionally threatening politically and ecclesiastically the former, and are simultaneously slandering them throughout the world representing their servants and hirelings among the Orthodox as martyrs for the faith (?), and before the Western world – as sufferers for human religious rights and freedom. We see that at least that they know very well: where and how to represent themselves.

            Now, let us say and acknowledge that both things are not good, particularly when they happen among brothers Christians. However, simply catches the eye the great disproportion in the relations and naturally the question is raised: how can it be that the atrocious crime the Serbian Church and State are trying to execute, i.e. the pastoral missing and negation of a whole nation and the attempt to isolate (capture) and destroy its Church, they are justifying and showing as good, and the legal penalty their servants and hirelings are meted out in the Republic of Macedonia, that is, the knocking down of a started shrine and the imprisonment of one man, they to see as such great evil, so they have to wail and twitter throughout the world? Certainly, if they knew what is the difference between a ‘media political marketing’ and a ‘Christian martyric ethos’ they by no means would have done that.

             If we answered the above raised question, with the language of the holy Fathers we would say: the men, by all appearances, are possessed by ‘conceit’, that is, by ‘high opinion of themselves and of their deeds’, that is, by ‘demonic delusion’. It is thus, for only the superiority complex or the high idea of oneself can blind a man to that extent so that even his evil deeds he justifies and glorifies while even the good deeds of the other one – “the lower”, “the worthless” – seem to him evil and valueless. If we did not have Christ as a criterion, and also the comparison or the disproportion between what the Serbian Orthodox Church does and what it suffers and what the Macedonian Orthodox Church does and what it suffers, many of us could possibly be deceived by the Serbian propaganda; not now, though. It is particularly important that no one in the Republic of Macedonia was deceived, and so the attempt the Serbian Orthodox Church had made to split our faithful Orthodox people has failed this time again.

            Finally, in the apparent disproportion of the forces and actions of our two sides in the current situation we cannot but recognize the barest illustration of Christ’s warning: Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matt. 7:3-5)!

            If someone thinks we are too harsh in the assessment of the existing situation, he is welcome to live with us as a true Christian or an Episcope and let him crucify himself on the cross called Macedonia, so when the blood he sheds for the Church of God here he sees constantly mixed with the spits of non-recognition he is to receive in return for his suffering, then he will see that we are much, much too mild and restrained when writing all this and in the language we are using at that.


Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica