UMD Outraged by Anthimos’s Incitement of Violence Against Macedonians
August 20, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) expressed its outrage at Sunday’s sermon by Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki (Solun).* He called upon Greek youth and others to join him in 40-50 buses, travel to the town of Meliti (Ovcharani),* and destroy a planned Macedonian language radio station.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul oversees the Holy Metropolises of the “New Lands,” including Thessaloniki (Solun). In a letter, UMD called upon the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to publically condemn Anthimos’s incitements to violence, and to initiate proceedings for his immediate excommunication.
“Anthimos is a shameful embarrassment to all of Orthodoxy and should be stripped of his title by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy and Sacred Synod,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “This rhetoric is barbaric and injurious to Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox Church. Instead of promoting Christian values of peace, tolerance and togetherness, Anthimos uses his position of trust to incite the Greek nation to ethnic hatred and violence. As a Christian leader, Anthimos’s speech is completely unacceptable, and he deserves to be excommunicated.”
On Sunday, August 14, 2011, Metropolitan Anthimos stated the following, which was captured on video:
“We have some of those who were left here since the Civil War period, as we call it, that difficult period, who did not leave to the other side and stayed here with us… [They] are now revolting, and are instigated from abroad by the Skopian [sic] propaganda … That is why we address to the Ministry of Interior and deputy ministers relevant to the media to tell us: is it true, such a radio station will become in Meliti . . . yes or no? If it is yes, then I, and the youth, and anyone else who wants to . . . [with] at least 40 or 50 buses must go there, and together with our brothers in Florina and Meliti, we will destroy everything into broken glass and nails . . . It is not possible to do the job differently.”
Despite nominal leadership from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, the Greek Orthodox Church is enshrined in the Greek constitution as the “prevailing” religion, and the state pays the clergy’s salaries and pensions. “The Greek State’s use of the clergy to terrorize Macedonians in northern Greece has a long and bloody history, going back to the likes of Bishop Germanos Karavangelis, who ordered beheadings in the streets of Kostur,*” said UMD Voice Magazine Editor Mark Branov. “It is long past due for the Greek Orthodox Church to fully adhere to Christian principles of love and tolerance, and for the Greek state to use its laws for something other than persecuting national minorities.”
Today, UMD also urged the Macedonian minority in Meliti (Ovcharani), the Mayor of that town, Panagiotis Anastasiadis (Pande Ashlakov),** and the organizers of said radio station to bring a case against Metropolitan Anthimos, and ask the Public Prosecutor to lay appropriate charges under Greek law. UMD believes Metropolitan Anthimos’s public appeal for violence is a clear violation of Greek law, and the Public Prosecutor must intervene.
*Solun and Ovcharani are the Macedonian names of these cities prior to the Greek state forcibly renaming them Thessaloniki and Meliti, respectively. Kostur is the Macedonian name of the city in Greece, Kastoria.
**Pande Ashlakov is the Macedonian name of the Mayor of Ovcharani; however, due to anachronistic and remarkably oppressive laws of the Greek state and the Greek Orthodox Church, one may not be baptized in Greece without a “Greek” name.
Video of Bishop Anthimos’s sermon in full (in Greek):
In the difficulties and storms we face in our lives, as I mentioned before, those we have next to us are included. I do not say this myself, it is in a prestigious newspaper, and I am saying also its name . . . is “The Investor’s World” of last Sunday’s issue. You cannot read it from there, I am showing it with the newspaper, so you will not think this is a rumor or something we invented . . . I will tell you, because you cannot read it from a distance . . . “in preparation is a radio station of the Skopians [sic] in Greece”. Do you hear that? And also those who are watching us, do you hear that? “Representatives self-defining as Macedonians announced through a newspaper in Fyrom [sic] that they have already got a license and are preparing to broadcast in their idiom [sic]. The president of the Florina municipality district of Meliti, Panagiotis Anastasiadis, who likes to be named also with a Skopian name [sic], announced a radio station that will broadcast in the slav-Macedonian idiom [sic]”. On the top there is the internet address of the newspaper that announces the operation of such radio station. What can I say to you? The newspaper is valid, and here, this guy has made a statement and is about an interview he gave to a Skopian [sic] newspaper: “The member of the Rainbow Party and president of the municipal district of Meliti Panagiotis Anastasiadis or, as he likes to be named, Pande Ashlakov” who among other statements against Greece and some against us, is saying that “We are ready, we have the license ready and we will take it and start the broadcasting of the radio station.” Is this possible, I ask you? Can we Greeks go and make radio stations in any Balkan country or any other? What’s happening here? We have some of those who were left here since the Civil War period, as we call it, that difficult period, who did not leave to the other side and stayed here with us, they have, of course, Greek origin and live here but were brought up for many years with their conditions. So, those who stayed here or who took care to stay here, are now revolting and are instigated from abroad by the Skopian [sic] propaganda, together with the other things they are doing, like statues, etc. and are trying to create this issue . . . They will make also a TV station. And now I beg and ask this moment: Mr. president of the region of Central Macedonia, because they are saying they will address to all Macedonians and also the Thessalonikians, their announcement says, Mr. president of the region of Western Macedonia, gentlemen of the remaining secretariat of the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace we had but was abolished (I complained then to Mr. Papandreou, and he told me “no, we will have a substitute”. What substitute, there is nothing!). To whom we can address to tell us what is going to be with this? That is why we address to the Ministry of Interior and deputy ministers relevant to the media to tell us: is it true, such a radio station will be become in Meliti and by which the Skopian [sic] propaganda will be broadcast inside Greece, so they will create an issue in Macedonia, yes or no? If it is yes, then I and the youth, and anyone who wants to, I will say it like I feel it, I do not know what will happen, if we say yes and they do it, at least 40-50 buses must go there and together with our brothers in Florina and Meliti, we will destroy everything into broken glass and nails. Otherwise it is not possible to do the job differently . . .
Previous UMD Press Releases related to Metropolitan Anthimos:
April 6, 2010: UMD Deplores Metropolitan Anthimos’ Easter Homily
November 7, 2007: UMD Taken Aback by Metropolitan Anthimos’ Threatening Statement
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