Demystification of an Embezzlement
With reference to ex–Metropolitan of Vardar’s statement given for the Kanal 5 TV, which was partially retold to me on the telephone, we would like to remind that man and those few people who might have believed him, about the following: if he, with not a single day of monastic life and with no renunciation of anything, dares boast that he was not scared of the people and did what he did, then, speaking as a fool, because of Christ, I also dare to boast (2 Corinthians 11:21). I, who once and for all died for this world (for my country, parents and relatives, friends, descendants, land) and went to live in a monastery on Mount Athos, where I spent eight and a half years, returned by Divine Providence, for the sake of our Holy Church, at the request of the Holy Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Can you imagine what a person who has already died and who has already renounced everything can be afraid of? No one and nothing! We are not afraid of the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and of the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12), that is, we are not afraid of the demons and the Satan himself, let alone of ordinary people and their rule and dominion. Ridiculous.
What brought me back, what made me serve the Macedonian Orthodox Church and what I am prepared to shed my blood for and not renounce its Cross is the Truth. It is Jesus, the Son of God and the fullness of His Tradition which has been kept alive in our Holy Church through the apostolic succession from the time of Apostle Paul’s preaching till the present day. Until I am alive as a Bishop, the Macedonian Orthodox Church will, too, be alive, our untouched Holy Orthodox Faith will be practised, and with the right guidance on the part of the shepherds, the Orthodox people entrusted to us will be saved and deified. I strongly believe and I know that all the other, both present and future Bishops of the Macedonian Orthodox Church are of the same opinion. Should anyone ever try to change our Holy Orthodox Faith by force, we will dauntlessly and resolutely wait for them, in the very same way the crown of martyrdom, in that case, will await us. Who doubts this is welcome to challenge us.
I have a confession to make: when it comes to the purity of our Faith, we are ready to sacrifice all we have, and above all, our very selves, not regretting anything, and not fearing anyone. I am prepared to leave my Episcopal title and all I have created with my bare hands, to be separated from my faithful people entrusted to me, which, I admit, I would find most difficult, even to sacrifice my own life, regardless of the pain. I am ready to become a martyr for the sake of the purity of our Faith. But to leave the people entrusted to me, that is, my spiritual children I have given birth to in excruciating pain, who expect my spiritual guidance with great faith and love - all that for Serbian or who knows whose national and political interests, i.e. because of the Serbian demand for change of the name and the status (a crucial dogmatic issue, don’t you think?) of our Holy Church? I have never even thought about it. It is insane to think that Nahum, the Metropolitan of Strumica, from the position and image of God, an icon of Christ, a Bishop of the Holy Church, would stoop so low as to pretend to be a martyr! And all that for Serbian national and political interests? Nonsense.
When ex-Metropolitan of Vardar says that he wasn’t afraid of the people when he did what he did, he tells only half the truth. The other half is that what he did was for fear of his high position in the Church. Frankly, he had nothing to lose when he left us. He had not built anything in the two dioceses he was entrusted with, nor had he built a spiritual community with the faithful people there. How else could he leave them? What can we conclude, we who know that he abandoned our Church for the Serbian Orthodox Church at a time when the inspection sent by the Holy Synod of Hierarchs of the Macedonian Orthodox Church started to find many irregularities in his financial management? Because of this, legal proceedings have been taken against him. This is the whole truth about that man, and not the stories he keeps telling us through the media. If some people belonging to the high clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church saw in him the long-awaited scapegoat for the Serbian national-chauvinist adventure on the Balkan political chessboard, that is their own wrong political estimate and responsibility. If we translate their ‘spiritual’ state, as foundation for their wrong political estimate, in the language of the Church, although it would not be appropriate for them, since they think and act in a worldly fashion, we would be forced to use the term ‘dangerous delusion’. How sad!
So, we could never trust people who care solely about themselves and their position, but have done nothing and have left nothing behind them and have therefore nothing to lose. We will never trust people who never managed to fulfill themselves in the Macedonian Orthodox Church, i.e. whose position in our Holy Church, according to them, did not correspond with their high opinion of themselves. We will never trust those who, frustrated by their personal failures, would not admit their guilt and would slander the Bishops from the Holy Synod of Hierarchs of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, aiming thus to provoke suspicion and cleavage within the Church, in order to be able to act more easily. We could never trust and draw close to those whose slandering behaviour only shows how spiritually empty they are. We could never trust those who have come in a glaring spiritual discrepancy with the vast majority of the faithful people by negating their Macedonian national identity. We could never possibly trust those who pretend to be martyrs, but for others’ national and political interests, and who have absolutely nothing in common with the Holy Martyrs who suffered for their Orthodox Faith. We could never trust those who exist only virtually, in the media, by mystifying the public in an attempt to hide their own failures. We will never trust people who bear an abundance of these ‘fruits’. Not until they repent. Have we not recently warned you to dose your lies correctly in order to make them seem acceptable? Have you not grasped the evangelic message that where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather? (Luke, 17, 37) And have we not taught you to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven (Mathew, 6, 33), i.e. the ‘the place of the heart’ and the key to it, i.e. the mind-and-heart prayer, and all things will be given to you as well? What is your problem?
Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica
P.S. It took me so long to write all this. I am sorry I had to do it just now.