Macedonia, Macedonians & Religion

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  • Liberator of Makedonija
    Senior Member
    • Apr 2014
    • 1597

    Macedonia, Macedonians & Religion

    Continued from here: http://www.macedoniantruth.org/forum...390#post179390
    Originally posted by Karposh View Post
    Unbelievable. When a similar proposal for the construction of an Orthodox Church went ahead not so long ago, all hell broke loose. Not only were there protests from Muslim Albanians but from Macedonians as well. And here we are, half way into the completion of this monstrosity (that celebrates not only foreign traditions, customs and ideas, alien to Macedonia, but also symbolically glorifies a religion that enslaved Macedonia for over five centuries) and not a whimper can be heard from anyone. Deafening silence once again.

    https://balkaninsight.com/2012/05/14...church-begins/
    Under that same mentality, isn't Christianity also foreign to Macedonia? Given that it was introduced to the region. Weren't we enslaved by Christians through the Byzantine Emperors as well?
    I know of two tragic histories in the world- that of Ireland, and that of Macedonia. Both of them have been deprived and tormented.
  • Soldier of Macedon
    Senior Member
    • Sep 2008
    • 13675

    #2
    Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
    Under that same mentality, isn't Christianity also foreign to Macedonia? Given that it was introduced to the region. Weren't we enslaved by Christians through the Byzantine Emperors as well?
    Macedonia was occupied by the Roman Empire a couple of centuries prior to the introduction of Christianity during the time of Saint Paul. Christianity didn't become the official religion of the Roman Empire until the 4th century AD. By that time, Macedonians had been living under Roman law for quite some time. So it's incorrect to suggest that Macedonia was "enslaved by Christians" during the period in question unless you're referring to control of Macedonia and other Balkan regions passing hands from one Christian empire or kingdom to another. Further, Christianity has, over a period of 2,000 years, been an increasingly integral part of the fabric of Macedonian culture. Islam, which indeed was the religion of people who enslaved us and is a belief system which specifically designates Christians (and non-Muslims in general) as second class, is incomparable. It was this belief system which, in their minds, justified their treatment of us as slaves. The construction of religious buildings that often tend to symbolize a horrific past in Macedonia needs to be more tightly governed and occur only where appropriate.
    In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

    Comment

    • Karposh
      Member
      • Aug 2015
      • 863

      #3
      Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
      Under that same mentality, isn't Christianity also foreign to Macedonia? Given that it was introduced to the region. Weren't we enslaved by Christians through the Byzantine Emperors as well?
      Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
      Macedonia was occupied by the Roman Empire a couple of centuries prior to the introduction of Christianity during the time of Saint Paul. Christianity didn't become the official religion of the Roman Empire until the 4th century AD. By that time, Macedonians had been living under Roman law for quite some time. So it's incorrect to suggest that Macedonia was "enslaved by Christians" during the period in question unless you're referring to control of Macedonia and other Balkan regions passing hands from one Christian empire or kingdom to another. Further, Christianity has, over a period of 2,000 years, been an increasingly integral part of the fabric of Macedonian culture. Islam, which indeed was the religion of people who enslaved us and is a belief system which specifically designates Christians (and non-Muslims in general) as second class, is incomparable. It was this belief system which, in their minds, justified their treatment of us as slaves. The construction of religious buildings that often tend to symbolize a horrific past in Macedonia needs to be more tightly governed and occur only where appropriate.
      Thank you SoM. I just don't have the energy or the time to get into it with LoM but he is entitled to his opinion I suppose if that's how he wants to view the world. I'm pretty sure LoM has made a similar remark on a different thread but essentially regarding the same issue. You explained it perfectly to him then why Orthodoxy is a part of our identity and culture and Islam is not and he still persists as though the two faiths entered Macedonia and influenced the people in exactly the same way. They did not. Tradition holds that St.Paul was invited into Macedonia to spread Christianity among the people by way of a dream which was inspired by God.

      From Acts 16:9-15,
      That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, Come over to Macedonia and help us! The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
      Macedonia was the first country on European soil where Christianity took root.

      Comment

      • Liberator of Makedonija
        Senior Member
        • Apr 2014
        • 1597

        #4
        Originally posted by Karposh View Post
        Thank you SoM. I just don't have the energy or the time to get into it with LoM but he is entitled to his opinion I suppose if that's how he wants to view the world. I'm pretty sure LoM has made a similar remark on a different thread but essentially regarding the same issue. You explained it perfectly to him then why Orthodoxy is a part of our identity and culture and Islam is not and he still persists as though the two faiths entered Macedonia and influenced the people in exactly the same way. They did not. Tradition holds that St.Paul was invited into Macedonia to spread Christianity among the people by way of a dream which was inspired by God.
        I stay true to the ideology of the Macedonian revolutionaries, a secular Macedonia. These petty religious divides and arguments over who's god is better are so ridiculous. I really resent the argument that "Orthodoxy is a part of our culture", I along with many Macedonians am not a Orthodox Christian and that does not make me any less Macedonian.
        I know of two tragic histories in the world- that of Ireland, and that of Macedonia. Both of them have been deprived and tormented.

        Comment

        • Soldier of Macedon
          Senior Member
          • Sep 2008
          • 13675

          #5
          Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
          I stay true to the ideology of the Macedonian revolutionaries, a secular Macedonia. These petty religious divides and arguments over who's god is better are so ridiculous.
          The Macedonian revolutionaries gave an oath to liberate Macedonia, often that included kissing a dagger and revolver above a Christian Bible. They may have espoused some secular ideals, but the overwhelming majority of them were Christians. As for the topic of religious differences, if it doesn't interest you then don't concern yourself with it.
          I really resent the argument that "Orthodoxy is a part of our culture", I along with many Macedonians am not a Orthodox Christian and that does not make me any less Macedonian.
          You can resent it as much as you like, that still doesn't change the fact that Christianity, and for the most part Orthodox Christianity, is an important part of Macedonian culture. Macedonians today who aren't Orthodox Christians aren't any less Macedonian than those that are. But all of our Macedonian ancestors were Orthodox Christians for several centuries. So before you dismiss it completely due to your own bias or uninformed view, spare a thought for the many generations that came before us and developed that culture over the previous 2,000 years.
          In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

          Comment

          • Niko777
            Senior Member
            • Oct 2010
            • 1895

            #6
            Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
            I stay true to the ideology of the Macedonian revolutionaries, a secular Macedonia.
            Those same revolutionaries had crosses on their flags, flag poles, caps, etc.

            Comment

            • Gocka
              Senior Member
              • Dec 2012
              • 2306

              #7
              Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
              I stay true to the ideology of the Macedonian revolutionaries, a secular Macedonia. These petty religious divides and arguments over who's god is better are so ridiculous. I really resent the argument that "Orthodoxy is a part of our culture", I along with many Macedonians am not a Orthodox Christian and that does not make me any less Macedonian.
              You don't have to take that as a dilution of your Macedonian identity. Being an Orthodox Christian is not required in order to be a Macedonian, but as others have said, the Orthodox faith is interwoven with the Macedonian identity and the struggle for it. When I say interwoven I don't even mean the religious elements of it, but the cultural elements. Most Macedonians aren't very religious anyway, its more of a mark of our struggle to maintain the Orthodox faith in the face of Ottoman occupation.

              Aren't many other ethnic groups also heavily shaped and influenced by a religion?

              Comment

              • Liberator of Makedonija
                Senior Member
                • Apr 2014
                • 1597

                #8
                Originally posted by Gocka View Post
                You don't have to take that as a dilution of your Macedonian identity. Being an Orthodox Christian is not required in order to be a Macedonian, but as others have said, the Orthodox faith is interwoven with the Macedonian identity and the struggle for it. When I say interwoven I don't even mean the religious elements of it, but the cultural elements. Most Macedonians aren't very religious anyway, its more of a mark of our struggle to maintain the Orthodox faith in the face of Ottoman occupation.

                Aren't many other ethnic groups also heavily shaped and influenced by a religion?
                I and many have been viewed as "less-Macedonian" by many of our fellow Macedonians because of this though. I acknowledge the high position Eastern Orthodox Christianity has held in Macedonia for the past millenia but there were religions in Macedonia before Christianity and there have been new ones introduced since then and the pettiness of these disputes concerning "foreign" and "indigenous" religions baffles me.
                I know of two tragic histories in the world- that of Ireland, and that of Macedonia. Both of them have been deprived and tormented.

                Comment

                • Gocka
                  Senior Member
                  • Dec 2012
                  • 2306

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
                  the pettiness of these disputes concerning "foreign" and "indigenous" religions baffles me.
                  On the face of it its easy to classify it as such and move on, but in a much broader context its not petty.

                  We have to start off with the fact that Europe as a continent has been shaped and defined by Christianity for almost 1500 years. So any religion other than Christian is somewhat foreign. Apart from the middle east in terms of the oldest, the oldest and largest populations of Christians are in Europe. Apart from the last 50 to 75 year it was still largely defined through Christianity.

                  So right from the start a religion like Islam has to be seen as foreign to the continent, especially given how different the religion and cultures who practice it are from those found in Europe. For Macedonia it is an even more foreign concept given how they were enslaved and tortured by the Ottoman Muslim empire for 500 years. Macedonia was arguably the first Christian population in Europe. Macedonia had hundreds of churches that were several hundred years old by the time the Ottomans showed up and converted most of them to Mosques.

                  The Macedonian identity during that time hinged upon the Orthodox faith because nationalism wasn't a thing yet. The Ottomans and others grouped people by faith. Jews, Muslims, Christians. Later on labels like Bulgarians and Greeks substituted Christians from villages and Christians from cities. Not only were Macedonians defined by their religion but so were others of the region.

                  If you were not Orthodox Christian, the odds are you did not consider yourself Macedonian and neither did the people around you. This is just a simple historical fact.

                  Yes 1700 years ago Macedonians were not Christians but for the most part our culture and identity today is shaped by the Ottoman period, a period in which our religious affiliation was more important than ever.

                  In terms of foreign vs native, that's playing with semantics in my book. Saying things live native and foreign sound naughty without context. Flip that around and ask instead historically how many Macedonians were Muslim, catholic or, Jewish? The few that were either adopted those religions in exchange for their Orthodox faith, or they were people who came from outside Macedonia and adopted the identity. Does that make them foreign? Who cares, its not that important.

                  This is all from a person that is not religious at all anyway, but we can't rewrite history, it is what it is and I hope that doesn't discourage you as identifying as Macedonian.

                  Comment

                  • Liberator of Makedonija
                    Senior Member
                    • Apr 2014
                    • 1597

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Gocka View Post
                    On the face of it its easy to classify it as such and move on, but in a much broader context its not petty.

                    We have to start off with the fact that Europe as a continent has been shaped and defined by Christianity for almost 1500 years. So any religion other than Christian is somewhat foreign. Apart from the middle east in terms of the oldest, the oldest and largest populations of Christians are in Europe. Apart from the last 50 to 75 year it was still largely defined through Christianity.

                    So right from the start a religion like Islam has to be seen as foreign to the continent, especially given how different the religion and cultures who practice it are from those found in Europe. For Macedonia it is an even more foreign concept given how they were enslaved and tortured by the Ottoman Muslim empire for 500 years. Macedonia was arguably the first Christian population in Europe. Macedonia had hundreds of churches that were several hundred years old by the time the Ottomans showed up and converted most of them to Mosques.

                    The Macedonian identity during that time hinged upon the Orthodox faith because nationalism wasn't a thing yet. The Ottomans and others grouped people by faith. Jews, Muslims, Christians. Later on labels like Bulgarians and Greeks substituted Christians from villages and Christians from cities. Not only were Macedonians defined by their religion but so were others of the region.

                    If you were not Orthodox Christian, the odds are you did not consider yourself Macedonian and neither did the people around you. This is just a simple historical fact.

                    Yes 1700 years ago Macedonians were not Christians but for the most part our culture and identity today is shaped by the Ottoman period, a period in which our religious affiliation was more important than ever.

                    In terms of foreign vs native, that's playing with semantics in my book. Saying things live native and foreign sound naughty without context. Flip that around and ask instead historically how many Macedonians were Muslim, catholic or, Jewish? The few that were either adopted those religions in exchange for their Orthodox faith, or they were people who came from outside Macedonia and adopted the identity. Does that make them foreign? Who cares, its not that important.

                    This is all from a person that is not religious at all anyway, but we can't rewrite history, it is what it is and I hope that doesn't discourage you as identifying as Macedonian.
                    I agree with those points, I am not blind to the history the faith has played in the formation of our identity but it angers me that so many Macedonians hold what I call the 'Serb-mentality' of associating our identity soley with Eastern Orthodox Christianity and discriminating against Macedonians who don't subscribe to this.
                    I know of two tragic histories in the world- that of Ireland, and that of Macedonia. Both of them have been deprived and tormented.

                    Comment

                    • Soldier of Macedon
                      Senior Member
                      • Sep 2008
                      • 13675

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Liberator of Makedonija View Post
                      I acknowledge the high position Eastern Orthodox Christianity has held in Macedonia for the past millenia but there were religions in Macedonia before Christianity and there have been new ones introduced since then and the pettiness of these disputes concerning "foreign" and "indigenous" religions baffles me.
                      Neither of the religions that were in Macedonia prior to or after Christianity have had anywhere near the influence in our culture. Not sure why such an obvious fact would baffle you.
                      .....it angers me that so many Macedonians hold what I call the 'Serb-mentality' of associating our identity soley with Eastern Orthodox Christianity....
                      In all my time I have never met a Macedonian that associates our identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity. You're either being hyperbolic or you need to seek a new circle of acquaintances.
                      In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                      Comment

                      • Gocka
                        Senior Member
                        • Dec 2012
                        • 2306

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post

                        In all my time I have never met a Macedonian that associates our identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity. You're either being hyperbolic or you need to seek a new circle of acquaintances.
                        I've never heard it in those terms exactly, probably because most Macedonians are as intellectual as a sack of potatoes: But I can't say he is 100% wrong either. In Macedonia I can say with certainty that most people look upon Macedonians who do not identify as Orthodox as not Macedonian or at a minimum they are apprehensive. For example when I refer to Macedonians who are Muslim (Torbeshi), as Macedonians, most people just call them Muslims, sometimes they call them Torbeshi. Very few people consider them as Macedonians. Same with a hand full of Jews who are left, they call them Jews not Macedonians. Other religions are extremely rare so I can't say I've ever heard anything in regards to them. I don't think I've ever met a Macedonian who was catholic or protestant.

                        Even people who identify as agnostic or atheist are looked at as pariahs at a minimum, even though the vast majority of Macedonians couldn't tell the difference between a bible and a cook book. Its certainly a remnant from the Ottoman period.

                        BUT, Macedonians are no where near as fanatical about it as Serbs or Greeks. To them it is still is a corner stone of their identity. For Macedonians its subtle, it may manifest in a comment here or there but I certainly wouldn't say its at a discriminatory level, not even close.

                        How could it be given they don't given a shit about their own identity anyway?
                        Last edited by Gocka; 02-13-2019, 09:20 PM.

                        Comment

                        • Liberator of Makedonija
                          Senior Member
                          • Apr 2014
                          • 1597

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Gocka View Post
                          I've never heard it in those terms exactly, probably because most Macedonians are as intellectual as a sack of potatoes: But I can't say he is 100% wrong either. In Macedonia I can say with certainty that most people look upon Macedonians who do not identify as Orthodox as not Macedonian or at a minimum they are apprehensive. For example when I refer to Macedonians who are Muslim (Torbeshi), as Macedonians, most people just call them Muslims, sometimes they call them Torbeshi. Very few people consider them as Macedonians. Same with a hand full of Jews who are left, they call them Jews not Macedonians. Other religions are extremely rare so I can't say I've ever heard anything in regards to them. I don't think I've ever met a Macedonian who was catholic or protestant.

                          Even people who identify as agnostic or atheist are looked at as pariahs at a minimum, even though the vast majority of Macedonians couldn't tell the difference between a bible and a cook book. Its certainly a remnant from the Ottoman period.

                          BUT, Macedonians are no where near as fanatical about it as Serbs or Greeks. To them it is still is a corner stone of their identity. For Macedonians its subtle, it may manifest in a comment here or there but I certainly wouldn't say its at a discriminatory level, not even close.

                          How could it be given they don't given a shit about their own identity anyway?

                          You just summed up my thoughts exactly. We aren't as obsessed with it as our neighbours but Macedonians (particulary in the Republic) have a habit of looking down on those who aren't Eastern Orthodox Christians, they still link Macedonian identity to religious identity and view those outside of this sect as less-Macedonian. Even those who actually choose to somewhat accept Macedonians for other religious denominations will often still use some kind of suffix e.g. Macedonian Muslims, Macedonian Jews, Macedonian Protestants, etc. Whereas they almost never use the term Macedonian Orthodox, referring to these people simply as Macedonian. I understand Orthodoxy is the majority religion in our nation but still it's subtle things like that that give-off the impression that those who don't subscribe to Eastern Orthodox Christianity aren't as Macedonian as those who do and are treated as such with the gift of a suffix.
                          I know of two tragic histories in the world- that of Ireland, and that of Macedonia. Both of them have been deprived and tormented.

                          Comment

                          • Soldier of Macedon
                            Senior Member
                            • Sep 2008
                            • 13675

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Gocka View Post
                            I've never heard it in those terms exactly, probably because most Macedonians are as intellectual as a sack of potatoes....
                            You've never heard Macedonians associate their identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity, and because they don't, they're intellectually deficient? Not sure how that makes sense.
                            In Macedonia I can say with certainty that most people look upon Macedonians who do not identify as Orthodox as not Macedonian or at a minimum they are apprehensive.
                            To say they are viewed as being outside the norm in terms of religious affiliation is accurate. To go so far as to say they are viewed as not Macedonian? Sounds anecdotal, at least if it's in reference to other Christian denominations. If that were true for most people in Macedonia, they wouldn't have voted for Boris Trajkovski, a Methodist, as President.
                            For example when I refer to Macedonians who are Muslim (Torbeshi), as Macedonians, most people just call them Muslims, sometimes they call them Torbeshi. Very few people consider them as Macedonians.
                            I would like nothing more than for those people to fully embrace their Macedonian heritage. Many of them do. Unfortunately, many of them don't and that contributes to existing perceptions. For some, it may be difficult to rationalise the thought of their kinsmen having adopted the religion of occupiers who oppressed Macedonia for over 500 years. I'm not suggesting the descendants of such converts should be punished for the actions of their ancestors, but we can't just wipe that part of our history from memory.
                            Same with a hand full of Jews who are left, they call them Jews not Macedonians.
                            The Jews in Macedonia aren't ethnic Macedonians nor do they see themselves as such.
                            In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

                            Comment

                            • Liberator of Makedonija
                              Senior Member
                              • Apr 2014
                              • 1597

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
                              You've never heard Macedonians associate their identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity, and because they don't, they're intellectually deficient? Not sure how that makes sense


                              To say they are viewed as being outside the norm in terms of religious affiliation is accurate. To go so far as to say they are viewed as not Macedonian? Sounds anecdotal, at least if it's in reference to other Christian denominations. If that were true for most people in Macedonia, they wouldn't have voted for Boris Trajkovski, a Methodist, as President.
                              Some people do have this mentality.

                              Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
                              I would like nothing more than for those people to fully embrace their Macedonian heritage. Many of them do. Unfortunately, many of them don't and that contributes to existing perceptions. For some, it may be difficult to rationalise the thought of their kinsmen having adopted the religion of occupiers who oppressed Macedonia for over 500 years. I'm not suggesting the descendants of such converts should be punished for the actions of their ancestors, but we can't just wipe that part of our history from memory.
                              The Ottomans are long gone, they are not our enemy anymore. I don't think Orthodox Macedonians should be upset at these people for what is pretty much ancient history these days.

                              Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
                              The Jews in Macedonia aren't ethnic Macedonians nor do they see themselves as such.
                              This one is debatable, maybe not in the contemporary context but definitely in the historical context.
                              I know of two tragic histories in the world- that of Ireland, and that of Macedonia. Both of them have been deprived and tormented.

                              Comment

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