Address at the opening of the 58th Ohrid Summer Festival
Thursday, 12 July 2018 23:36

Distinguished art lovers,

This year, for the 58th time, Ohrid and Macedonia will host hundreds of artists. These artists will bring the world with them, and afterwards they will carry Ohrid with them in the world as a Macedonian mirror of European culture. From today on, the world is in Ohrid and Ohrid is in the world. Hence, we will start this mutual intertwining tonight with music.

It is also with music that one evening the dinner started between friends from several Balkan countries, who met in a Balkan restaurant. There, they heard a famous folk love song. Each of them began singing it in his mother tongue and soon there was a quarrel over the selfish appropriation of that song of love. Trying to understand the paradox of the song with different verses but identical music, the most curious and courageous of them discovered the truth that music is the universal language of humanity.

That language cannot be translated because every soul understands it straightforwardly. Throughout history, there were unsuccessful attempts to reduce that language to a means of achieving selfish goals. They tried in vain through the art of lies and of political correctness to enslave man. Music and art have always helped man to be strong even when he is weak, to be rich when he is poor, to be free even when he is in chains, and to be encouraged when he is afraid. In that language of truth, there is no room for falsehood. In that language of love, there is no room for hatred. The two most famous songs in the history of the world are indeed dedicated to love. The Song of Songs written by Solomon of the Old Testament and the hymn of love composed by Paul of the New Testament.

It is not, however, by chance that one of the fathers of Europe, Jean Monnet, said that if Europe needs to be created all over again, then he would begin with culture and arts. This Monet's thought applies not only to Europe but to all the geo-strategies that are tailored in the world power centers, having in mind particularly the fact that this year marks 70 years from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of those rights is certainly the right to participate in the cultural life and to enjoy arts.

To this note, with the message "world in Ohrid and Ohrid in the world", as President of the Republic of Macedonia, I declare the 58th edition of the Ohrid Summer Festival open!

Address of the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 15:51

Respected citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,

Let me inform you that today for the first time I received the agreement reached between the prime ministers of the Republic of Macedonia and the Hellenic Republic.

At the meeting I had this morning with Prime Minister Zaev and Minister Dimitrov, I told them that this is their personal agreement, their personal decision and their responsibility.

I told them that this harmful agreement means abandonment of the already built substantive state positions, which were confirmed at the last two leaders' meetings. These are: non-alteration of the Constitution and non-acceptance of a name for overall use, or erga omnes.

Such a harmful agreement, which is unique in the history of mankind, is shameful and unacceptable for me. It violates the Constitution, the laws and it breaks the state institutions. I will not legalize political illegal agreements.

The Government did not find strength and courage to build a common position and reach a national consensus. The whole negotiation process was carried out frivolously, irresponsibly and without transparency, as evidenced by the end result.

Dear citizens,

The text of the agreement is defeating for the Republic of Macedonia.

It does not envisage only change of the constitutional name, but change of the preamble, as well as all the articles of the Constitution where the name and the terms derived from the name Macedonia are mentioned.

Is patriotism changing the preamble and deleting the state legal continuity of the Republic of Macedonia, the Krushevo Republic and ASNOM?

Is patriotism deleting the article of the Constitution on the protection of the Macedonian minority in the neighboring countries?

Is it dignified to inform all members of the United Nations that you have changed the constitutional name?

Is it worthwhile to accept all Greek demands and ultimatums?

Is it a leadership to accept a text of an agreement in which there is no legal certainty and guarantees for the Macedonian side?

Such an agreement opens up many issues and problems than it is supposed to close. Issues with incalculable consequences for the Macedonian state and the Macedonian people.

Greece managed to fulfill its maximalist demands. I strongly believe that what it did with the Macedonians in Greece, now, with this agreement, is trying to do with the Macedonians in Macedonia.

With such an agreement, the Macedonian identity is not strengthened, but rather, the already acquired rights in the United Nations are degraded. The covenant of our ancestors, those who created the centuries-old ideal and aspiration for our one and only Macedonia, is denied. The 73-year-old right of self-determination and statehood of the Macedonian people is being trampled; the 27-year-old history of the independent Macedonian state is erased. Everything that is sacred to Macedonia is trampled, and the unborn are deprived of the right and pride to be Macedonians.

The Republic of Macedonia is losing its sovereign equality arising from the Charter of the United Nations.

I call on to stop abusing our strategic goals and commitments. The European Union and NATO should not be an alibi for a bad agreement which will cause unacceptable and detrimental consequences for the state and national interests of the Republic of Macedonia.

Such an agreement does not unite the society, but additionally polarizes it.

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, as before, so in the future, I will work towards finding a solution that will not violate the dignity of the Macedonian people and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia.

Finally, I call on the Macedonian people everywhere not to be afraid. Do not lose faith in yourselves. Keep and nurture our centuries-old ideal of insubordination.

My position is final and no pressure, blackmailing or threat will make me change my mind. I will not support and sign such a harmful text of an agreement.

Thank you.

Address by the President Ivanov, at the 16th Danube-European Conference on Geotechnical Engineering
Thursday, 07 June 2018 13:28

Dear attendees,

Ladies and gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I am honored to be the patron of the XVI Danube-European Conference on Geotechnical Engineering. The fact that this important Conference is held in our country is an acknowledgment for the Republic of Macedonia, and therefore I congratulate its domestic and foreign organizers.

Next month will mark 55 years of the catastrophic Skopje earthquake. Exactly 5 seconds were enough to leave 150.000 people homeless, inflicting an immeasurable human and huge material loss. But our capital was restored thanks to the solidarity of the world and the professionalism of the geotechnical engineers. The geotechnical engineers were among the most responsible for putting the healthy foundations of the new and more resistant city.

Today, the Republic of Macedonia is connected with the European transport corridors. Roads, tunnels and bridges are being built, industrial capacities are being developed. The flow of people, goods, capital and services is branched and deepened. And all this has one goal, and that is a higher economic growth and development for the Macedonian citizens.

For the economic growth and development to be sustainable, we indeed need the expertise of the geotechnical engineers again.

Unfortunately, our region is not immune to disasters. All that we have inherited from previous generations, all that our generation is creating can disappear in just a few seconds. The dramatic climatic and meteorological changes that are in sight will increase the risk of hydrological hazards in Europe.

The complexity of nature still surpasses the narrow theoretical and scientific models of man. Despite the overall scientific and technical-technological development, we, as humanity, still cannot prevent all geotechnical hazards. But what we can do is to prevent them from becoming disasters. And we will achieve this by strengthening our institutions with the knowledge, capacities and resources necessary for the effective and efficient prevention, response and mitigation of the consequences in accordance with the Sendai Framework. Only you can help us, the geotechnical engineers, to build our infrastructure on solid and healthy foundations. With your help, we will be able to deliver a safer future to our descendants.

As patron of this important International Conference, I am sure that it will contribute to finding the necessary practical and applicable solutions to these geotechnical challenges. At the very end, I wish you a successful Conference and a nice and pleasant stay here in the Republic of Macedonia.

Thank you.


Address on the occasion of awarding the Medal of Merit for Macedonia to Heinz Brandl
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 12:22

Distinguished attendees,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Created with the need to create himself, man contributes to building a better world for the future generations. But, from all the building achievements of men, from the ancient settlements to the most modern megalopolises and smart cities, only those who are well founded survive.

Geotechnical engineers play a key role in the process of finding the balance between physical limitations of nature and human aspirations to overcome those barriers. They need to open their minds and think out of the patterns, to find new and innovative solutions to the challenges of nature.

Today, one of the top geotechnical engineers in Europe and the world is here with us, Professor Heinz Brandl. He is a theoretician and practitioner, who contributes to moving the boundaries of the possible. With his creativity and innovation, Professor Brandl is an inspiration and an example to many people in his vocation.

His merits speak not only of the significant scientific contribution, but also of the unselfish sharing of knowledge, being a feature of the true leaders. For only true leaders want to motivate and encourage as many people as possible. He has enabled many of our masters and PhD students to study at the prestigious Technical University of Vienna. And with that, he helped in transferring and applying their knowledge here, in the Republic of Macedonia.

Consistently, pledging the Geotechnical Society of Macedonia to become a full member of the International Geotechnical Association, he showed that science does not accept double standards. It is a lesson that some political decision-makers in the European Union and NATO should learn.

As one of the founders of the Danube European conferences on mechanics of soil and geotechnical engineering, he pledged the Republic of Macedonia to host this prestigious conference. With that, Professor Brandl put the Republic of Macedonia on the European map of geotechnical engineering.

Therefore, for everything that he has done in the past decades for the promotion of geotechnical engineering in our country, I am honored, as President of the Republic of Macedonia, to award him with the Medal of Merit for Macedonia.

Thank you.

Address at the Gala Academy on the occasion of the “1000 years of the Ohrid Archbishopric”
Sunday, 27 May 2018 23:34

Distinguished attendees,

This year we mark a millennium of the novel by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II dedicated to the glorious Ohrid Archbishopric. But, celebrating this great jubilee, we need to be aware of one thing. And that is that Basil's decision is a confirmation of the reality that in Macedonia there was already an organized church with church hierarchy. A church that originated from Christian believers. A church that originated from the people and existed for the sake of the people.

The Ohrid Archbishopric in the 11th century was not a new seedling on the Macedonian soil, but only one branch of the older people's Church of Samoil's state. And that people's church was composed of the students of the first Slavic bishop, St. Clement of Ohrid. This greatest student of the saints Cyril and Methodius finished the centuries-old spread of Christianity in the Macedonian Sclaveni.

And yet this was not the beginning of the Church in Macedonia. It is just one branch of the branched Christian tree.

In 535, here, in Macedonia, Emperor Justinian I established the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima, and ranked it on the third place among the churches in the world, immediately after Rome and Constantinople.

Justiniana Prima was not, however, the trunk that held the Ohrid Archbishopric. Because Justiniana Prima was also created for the needs of the Christians in Macedonia. Christians who were part of the Macedonian episcopes whose bishops participated in the Ecumenical Councils and defended Christianity from various heresies.

But even those episcopes that existed at the time of symphony between the church and the empire were not the trunk from which the Ohrid Archbishopric sprouted. Because they were preceded by the persecuted Church, the one before the Milan Edict of 313. A church secretly gathered in the catacombs and the caves.

And at that time of the fiercest persecution by the Roman Empire, here, in Ohrid, in Macedonia, St. Erasmus of Lichnid, who came from Antioch, spread his deeds. At a time when being a Christian was equal to a death sentence, he preached the repentance based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and received 20,000 Christian believers into the church. The descendants of these Christians were baptized in the baptistery and joined in the monumental basilica of Plaoshnik.

But the martyrdom generation of St. Erasmus is just one branch of the branched Christian tree.

Because history very clearly testifies to the following. And that is that Christianity in Macedonia was not brought by Basil or Samuel, or Clement and Naum of Ohrid, or Cyril and Methodius, or Justinian, or Erasmus of Ohrid ... Christianity in Macedonia was brought by Paul the Apostle.

And it all goes back to the trunk that holds all the branches, from the apostles in the first century to us in the 21st century. And that trunk, that true lineage is Jesus Christ.

Exactly the connection and dependence of the branches explains the endurance, resilience and perseverance of the Church of Christ in Macedonia to this day.


Over the centuries, the Church in Macedonia faced both persecution and prosperity. It was given different names. Its status was promoted and diminished. The dioceses were attached to it but also taken away. Its diocese was extended and narrowed. Various rulers approved or banned it. It persevered in the time of emperors-pagans, kings-Christians, and sultans-Muslims. But, regardless of all that, it was and remained a fruitful branch of the true lineage of Jesus Christ. A branch that for centuries carried the hope of eternity with God.

And precisely because of that hope, people, not considering their ethnic, social, linguistic affiliation, were so attached to their church. So attached that even the most powerful man of the most powerful empire of the 11th century, the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, did not dare to abolish it. He approved it, expanded it and protected it. And that is the act we are celebrating today. Today we celebrate the confirmation of the existence of the Church in Macedonia in the image of the people's Ohrid Archbishopric.

That church was a shelter for faithful, but also a replacement for the lost Samoil's state. In its dioceses, there were kitchens, orphanages, nursing homes, hospitals for the body and the soul, or what we today call social and health care. Its monasteries were also educational centers.

Many of its archbishops took care of the spiritual as well as of the secular needs of the people. John of Debar carefully guarded the national character of the Church. As one of the greatest thinkers of his time, Theophilact of Ohrid contributed to the archbishopric to be widely respected. Demetrius Homatian, one of the most famous church and secular lawyers, brought justice to people from all Orthodox ecumenes. Constantine Cavasila was a great advocate of peace in times of war. Despite the pressures of Romeization, Prohor boldly encouraged Slavic literature. In the time of Nicholas II, the church reached its top architectural and artistic achievements. Atanasij I was a great diplomat and freedom fighter, who cruised all over Europe, from Spain to Russia, from Naples to Prague. He met with European kings and sought support for the liberation of the Balkans from the Ottoman Empire.

At a time when the virus of ethnophyletism slowly began to spread in the Orthodox world and occupy the local churches, the Ohrid Archbishopric withstood and remained faithful to its role as a people's church. A Church of all its believers, regardless of their ethnic and linguistic affiliation. It remained faithful to the mandate to help people get to know God in the most authentic way - and that is through their mother tongue.

And precisely that was its sin - by allowing the service in an understandable for the people language, i.e. Macedonian, it did not allow the believers to alienate. With every decade passed, the pressure on the archbishopric increased, until 1767, when that living branch of the Christian church in Macedonia was undermined. It was the time when "Greek bishops came, with faces like saints, but hearts like wolves", as Grigor Prlichev would describe them.

Perhaps, this was the start of the darkest period of the history of the Macedonian people. Period of assimilation, forced alienation and renaming. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox millets became devlets, the dioceses of the local Balkan churches became the borders of the new Balkan states. The cross, instead of a symbol of unconditional love and sacrifice, became a symbol of superiority and power.

Hundreds of Slavic inscriptions were erased, thousands of Slavic manuscripts were destroyed, hundreds of thousands of believers were forcefully renamed and their identities violently changed. What survived was taken to foreign archives, libraries and museums. But even in those dark times, the living church spawned numerous spiritualists and revivalists such as Kiril Pejcinovic, Joakim Krchovski, Theodosius of Sinai, Partenij Zografski ...

And all that changed with the establishment of the modern Macedonian state. From the battered branch of the Ohrid Archbishopric, a new sapling sprouted, giving a rich fruit.

Last year, in 2017, we celebrated 50 years of the renewal of the Ohrid Archbishopric in the image of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. This marked the beginning of a new epoch. We finally got the first Bible in modern Macedonian language. The old ones were restored and many new temples were built. The Macedonian churches were filled with believers and the Macedonian monasteries with monks and nuns.

But, along with this new flourishing, the church faced challenges. In the former common state, the government restricted the church only as a religious community.

From the day of independence, the Macedonian Orthodox Church went through everything that the Republic of Macedonia was going and still goes through. These were years filled with blockades, isolation and non-recognition that create crises. These crises cause divisions instead of unity, cynicism instead of benevolence, voyeurism instead of solidarity and hatred instead of love. Temperance, patience, honesty, goodness, humanity were lost.

In such complex conditions, the Macedonian Orthodox Church faces a double challenge.

The first is to remain faithful to Christ's message. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the bitter fruits of ethnophyletism in the neighborhood. Therefore, the Church in Macedonia needs to take care of something incomparably more important and more permanent than the ethnic and national identity, and that is the spiritual identity that originates from the faith in Jesus Christ. Because only spiritually altered people can change the spirit of our society.

The second challenge is for the church to be socially relevant. We live at a time when some say that the church is an anachronistic institution that does not correspond with the spirit of the time in which we live. Time of secularization, globalization, digital transformation, fluidity of identities.

The Republic of Macedonia is a secular state. And, as a secular state, we guarantee the fundamental human freedom of thought, conscience and faith. But there is a worrying trend. Increasingly the secular states in Europe and the world are becoming secularized states that try to squeeze the faith out of the public space and limit it to the smallest possible space. And that is the space between our two ears, holding our mouths closed.

The fundamental human rights and freedoms and the inherent human dignity are increasingly devalued.

The marriage as a union of a biological man and a biological woman and the family as a community of parents and their children are disintegrated.

In the deep moral crisis, the boundary between truth and falsehood, between the right and the wrong, between the beautiful and the ugly, disappears.

The new relativism expects us to accept as absolute truth the claim that there is no absolute truth. And without the truth there is neither trust nor responsibility on which every free society is based.

In such conditions, the church is facing a huge task. It should be the loud conscience of society and the constructive critic of the state. To be the promoter of social justice, quality health care and education which are the measures of the success of a country.

The church should be the foundation of the good habits of the heart, it should defend the sanctity of marriage and the uniqueness of the family.

In an era of post-truth, the Church should be the pillar and fortress of the gospel truth.

In a time of moral relativism, the Church should uncompromisingly endure on the moral and ethical absolutes.

In a period when human beings are devalued, the Church should protect the immeasurable value and inalienable dignity of every person.

But the church will be socially relevant only if it is socially counter-cultural. That counter-culture is not just about preserving the good old church traditions. The church should be counter-cultural, just as all its martyrs, saints and educators were who were not afraid to stand up against the dominant destructive currents of their time.

To accomplish this great task, the Macedonian Orthodox Church should draw from the rich tradition of the Ohrid Archbishopric, be inspired from the great priests, dedicated monks, martyrs, church fathers, holy apostles, and above all, from the true lineage - Jesus Christ.

Because only this way, whether it is recognized or not, the Macedonian Orthodox Church - the Ohrid Archbishopric will continue to be part of the holy, cathedral and apostolic Church.

Thank you.


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