Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gruevski raises issue of Macedonian church

Macedonia’s PM wants the mediators in the “name” dispute to address the issue of the Macedonian church.

Nikola Gruevski has sent a letter to UN mediator Mathew Nimetz asking him to include the issue of Greek recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) as part of the talks.

Macedonian media report that Gruevski proposed that the matter be part of the entire package of solutions in the long-running dispute between Macedonia and Greece.

"After long discussions and negotiations, according to the information I have received from the MPC, it can be concluded that the roots of the problem again lie in the dispute that Greece has imposed, and which is linked to the Constitutional name,” he said.

"The Serbian Orthodox Church [SPC], among other things, backs the Greek Orthodox Church because a significant segment of the SPC’s leadership was educated and has spent a lot of time in Greek churches and monasteries, and has received grants from Greek Orthodox Church funds, remaining under its influence to this very day. That’s why moderate SPC bishops are known as the Greek wing,” Gruevski wrote.

The Macedonian prime minister also explained that the reason he had written the letter was that in Greece, the state and church were not divided and that they had close ties.

"Messages that the MPC will be recognized only if it changes its name clearly show that this problem has nothing to do with the church, but with politics and with the name of this country, and with the Greek refusal to acknowledge Macedonia’s identity,” Gruevski concluded.

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