Round table meeting with religious communities
of the Republic of Macedonia

La Longeraie, Morges, Switzerland
11-13 June 2001

Led by the principles of our faith and bound to live and work together as brothers and sisters since we all are children of the One God,

Believing that the common elements of our religions should be a foundation for mutual understanding and of action for peace, and believing that God calls us to that,

Urged by our mutual concern about the use of violent means that threatens to disturb and destroy our mutual harmony and democracy that we have been patiently building,

We, the representatives of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Islamic Community of Macedonia, the Catholic Church in Macedonia, the Evangelist-Methodist Church in Macedonia and the Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia, at the invitation of the World Council of Churches and Conference of European Churches, and with the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, met in Morges, Switzerland, 12-13 June 2001 to express our commitment to the One God for peace for our common country Macedonia, and we issue the following

We, as representatives of our churches and religious communities, condemn the violence and conflict which, instead of bringing a solution, will leave only chaos.

The recent violence and conflicts are not based on religion or religious differences, and we reject attempts to label them as acts of religious intolerance because true faith in God cannot support violence.

Our churches and religious communities are not involved in the conflict, and we strongly reject any tendency to allow ourselves to be involved and manipulated, as well as any misuse of religious symbols and language for the purposes of violence.

We strongly condemn the forced displacement of civilians, the abuse of rights of access to water and to aid for populations, and we call on our communities to respect human rights, including the right of access to water and to humanitarian assistance as a basis for sustainable peace.

We condemn the use of sacred places and buildings for military purposes and their desecration and destruction. Also, we condemn the incidents of harassment of religious people. The sacred nature of religious buildings must be respected, as must the personal integrity and dignity of clergy, representatives and officials of religious communities.

We affirm that peace is too important to leave only to the politicians. Peace is also a responsibility of the churches and of the religious communities.

We strongly believe that answers to problems should always be sought with an open and constant dialogue, based on a complete mutual respect and on the respect of the differences and the values of other religious traditions and communities. That is the only way given by the One God and there is no other way.

We feel and accept the need, and agree to undertake concrete actions in this direction, individually and as churches and religious communities.

We appeal to our believers, led by their love of God, to follow the way of non-violence and mutual respect, trust and peaceful coexistence in Macedonia, fostering everlasting peace and stability as well as prosperity for all its citizens.

We call on religious communities around the world to pray with us and to support our efforts for peace among us and through integration and strengthening of our churches and religious communities.

We call on the international community to support the peace and integrity of the Republic of Macedonia, the strengthening of European integration and support for peace, stability and prosperity in Macedonia and the whole region.

God is with us. God encourages us. We know we can find solutions in Him but we must have faith and trust in Him.

Signed by representatives of the religious communities in Geneva, 13 June 2001:

  • The Macedonian Orthodox Church
  • The Islamic Union of Macedonia
  • The Catholic Church of Macedonia
  • The United Methodist Church in Macedonia
  • The Jewish Community in Macedonia

    Note: Translated from the original Macedonian. In this document, the use of the terms 'Republic of Macedonia', 'Macedonia' and 'Macedonian' refers to the State and citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and these and any other terms do not imply any formal position or recognition on the part of WCC or of CEC.

    Back to press release