Today on the occasion of electing a laureate of the prestigious honorary prize of the EU Parliament, “European Citizen’s Prize”, a few days before the main EU ceremony in Brussels on 10th October, our Elder and Abbot, His Beatitude Archimandrite Parthenius, was given also an honorary prize of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. In the friendly atmosphere of the Bulgarian Assembly, in its plenary hall, Fr. Parthenius was first presented to the delegates by Mrs. Cveta Karajancheva, President of the National Assembly, and then ceremony continued in the official ceremony hall of the Parliament.
Mrs. Karajancheva in her introductory speech stressed:
“We often repeat that the European prospective for our region is most important for us all. This is what we are working on. And Fr. Parthenius is a testimony that this goal is achievable and real. He is well known for his respect towards all people, regardless of their religious, ethnical or national identity. With his active, worthy of respect and continuous patriotic activity, he has greatly contributed to the strengthening of the European spirit and values of the people, not just in Macedonia, but in the whole region as well
Let’s not forget that to work on the mutual understanding among people, their better association and friendship is an invaluable mission, which is a guarantee for the wellbeing of the people in our region. I would like to congratulate him and appeal that there are more people like him, let us fallow his example so that we could be more tolerant, patriotic and European in the real sense of the word.”
After that the EU representative D-r Andrew Kovachev presented Fr. Parthenius with the honorary medal of the EU Parliament.
In the end the EU laureate addressed the present officials with his words of gratitude:
“Respected Mrs Cveta Karajancheva, President of the National Assembly, respected Mr. Kovachev and all his associates, who have supported my nomination for this highly prestigious prize, respected friends and present officials,
First I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the wonderful reception you have extended to us, in this warm and friendly atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Assembly.
Speaking of the prestigious “European Citizen’s Prize” which in any case is above my efforts and merits, I would like to stress mu great joy and gratitude that this honor extended to me comes from the highest legislative body of united Europe, the same one whose ideological foundation is based on the Christian values and principles. Therefore I assure you that in future the ideals of Europe would fully be conformed with the ones of Christ’s Gospel, where you can actually find the perfect example for an ideal society. Actually it is the Christianity which gives complete freedom, wholeness, moral integrity and equal importance, not just to the human personality, but also to all the nations around the world. Consequently, it’s a great honor for me to be the first Orthodox monk and priest to be privileged with this honorary prize of the EU Parliament.
“The love you have given us, as a monastic brotherhood in the Republic of Macedonia, would be an additional motivation, but also an obligation, to work even harder in promoting the European spirit and values, based on the Evangelical principles of equality, righteousness, peace and unity. In this aspect we would enhance even further our efforts for greater international and transnational cooperation on the Balkans, but also for developing the centuries-old fraternal love between the brotherly nations of Macedonia and Bulgaria, having in mind the fact that our common ancestors contributed greatly to what we call today a European civilization. In that context we stand firmly behind the achieved Friendship and Neighborhood Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria, which seemed to be written with the blood of our ancestors and to the joy of their souls. But in order to preserve this it is necessary that it be implemented properly in the spirit of tolerance, love, mutual respect for the differences, which will prevent its turning into an instrument for unnecessary divisions, temptations and breach in the relations. Because everything that causes alienation, negative feelings or hatred – is not and evangelical deed and would therefore lack the blessing of our God-loving ancestors.
In the end I would like to make a very practical recommendation to the politicians of both sides. Namely, since we have already mentioned about the intensifying of the cooperation and cultural-economical relation between us, it’s of essential importance that both of our states be involved in the improving of the transport and traveling communication, because, on my way here, I couldn’t but remind myself just how bad the infrastructure is between our countries, which is a real impediment for our closer cooperation.
For the end I extend once more my cordial gratitude!”
And then he added: “I would like to ask once again all our brothers in Bulgaria who are in position to do so, to help our Republic of Macedonia to integrate in the common European family. Although there might not be enough understanding for this, still the brother is the one who always forgives his brother’s mistakes. This is the Evangelical way: when Christ was asked as to how many times should the brother be forgiven he replied Seventy times seven, which means we are obliged to forgive our brother endlessly when he is wrong and want to identify himself improperly. This is what the true love is like – it forgives.”
To our great joy among the present guest were also the Ambassador of RM in RB Mr. Marjan Gjorcev, and the Macedonian Assembly member Mr. Goran Milevski.
After the ceremony Fr. Parthenius had a meeting with members of the Religious and Human Rights Commission, with whom he discussed the contemporary condition of Christianity in Macedonia and Bulgaria, as well as the necessity for mutual assistance and cooperation.
The main awarding ceremony of the “European Citizen” prize will take place in sever days on 9th and 10th October the EU Parliament in Brussels.