April 6, 2010 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) takes strong issue with the contention of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan that “Macedonians, as an ethnic group, do not exist.” UMD also deplores his general philippic characterizing the Greek Government’s position on the “name dispute” as consistent with his statement denying the existence of a Macedonian ethnicity and deserving of the support of all Greek citizens.
“Instead of using his Easter homily to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the love that He brings to all mankind, Metropolitan Anthimos elected instead to spread ethnic hatred and division in a country that has been universally condemned for its unabashedly xenophobic policies against its non-Greek citizens,” noted UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.
In calling upon the citizens of Greece to lend their full support to the Greek Government’s position on the “name dispute” by denying Macedonian ethnicity, Metropolitan Anthimos Roussas must be aware that he is telling Greek citizens of Macedonian descent that they also must support a campaign that denies their own ethnicity, a patently absurd proposition. Considered a contender for the position as the next Archbishop of Athens and thereby the senior prelate of Greece following Archbishop Christodoulos’ death in January 2008, Metropolitan Anthimos has methodically instigated and flamed the fans of ethnic hatred against Greece’s Macedonian minority and the Republic of Macedonia.
On November 5, 2007, the Associated Press quoted the Metropolitan as calling for the “return” of geographic portions of the Republic of Macedonia to Greece: “Macedonia is Greek . . . and parts of it that are missing should be returned.” Earlier this year, the Metropolitan admonished Greeks travelling to Macedonia on vacation, saying “it’s a sin for Greeks to leave their money and property to Skopjans, do not go there.”
“There can be no justification for the second senior Metropolitan of the Church of Greece, whose annual salary is in part paid by the Greek Government, to propagate ethnic hatred and political enmity under the guise of state-sponsored religious activity, all directed against a peaceful member of the European Community of nations with which Greece has cultivated friendly relations,” said Koloski.
It should be noted that just last week, the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas characterized as an isolated incident incendiary ethnic slurs made by members of the Greek Armed Forces during a Greek Independence Day parade, who, on March 25, chanted that they would make uniforms from the skins of Skopjans and Albanians.
Koloski said that the position of the United Macedonian Diaspora is that “these incidents have been occurring with distressing frequency and hardly qualify as ‘isolated.’ As the leading political and economic power in the region, Greece must set an example and do more to ensure that these kinds of ‘isolated’ statements do not become routine utterances, especially from a high-ranking clergy member of the state-funded Church.”