Macedonian Festival Sep 6,7& 8
The very first beginning of Macedonians immigrating to USA date well back in the years around 1880s, according to the documents in the Ellis Island immigration records. At that point, their numbers were almost insignificant.
The first large group of Macedonian immigrants came from, at the time (second half of the 19th and first decade of 20th centuries) Western Macedonia notably around Bitola, Prespa regions and the north of what is today greek Macedonia, and it is estimated that around 50,000 Macedonians emigrated to the US between 1903 and 1906, but the outbreak of the Balkan Wars and World War I stopped the flow. Around 20,000 remained in the US and the rest returned home. The immigrants were predominately peasants, with the remainder including craftsmen, workers and intellectuals. Immigration restarted after the wars; most of the new immigrants were ethnic Macedonians from Greece. Around 50,000-60,000 Macedonians had emigrated to the US by the end of World War II. The aftermath of the war led to a fresh round of Macedonian immigration, primarily from Greece, as a consequence of the Greek civil war of 1946-49, 70,000 emigrated to Canada, Australia, the US and other European countries. After Yugoslavia liberalized its emigration policies in 1960, another 40,000 Macedonians emigrated during the period 1960-77. Most have been economic migrants rather than political dissidents.
The great exodus after bloody partition of Macedonia during Balkan and World War I, marks a corner stone in efforts to organize independent Macedonian Society here in Central Ohio. Being unrecognized and disrespected by the other ethnic or religious organizations of the neighboring nations, Macedonians have decided to organize themselves into “The Macedonian American Society Alexander The Great” in Columbus, Ohio, organized March 9th, 1938. In the Preamble of By-Laws they have stated their unity: We Macedonians from Macedonia, part of the former Turkish empire…
Years that follow brought to Macedonia struggle of the World War II, and as a result in our complete inclusion in the Allied forces against fascism, brought to us and our Fatherland, a longtime ago earned and God given Freedom and Macedonian Republic as a part of Yugoslavia.
From the initial sprouts of “The Macedonian American Society Alexander The Great”, twenty years later, on September 17th, 1958-The oldest congregation of the American Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Diocese, was chartered here in Columbus, Ohio. On December 25th the same year first Holy Liturgy in Macedonian language conducted by Macedonian priest Stevan Beličeski was held in the Church Hall of the Society on 794 S Front Street, Columbus.
Few years later, on the corners of S. Napoleon Ave and Medway in Whitehall, the new cornerstone of the history of Macedonian Church and Community in Central Ohio was laid. Building of the Macedonian Orthodox Church “Dormition of the Most Holy Birth giver of God” started on August 30th 1964 with ever inspiring Faith and Hope and Love and Patience of hard working American-Macedonians. Next year 1965, on May 9th, Church was dedicated and consecrated by the first Archbishop of the restored ancient Archbishopric of Ohrid in the name of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Dositej.
The following 45 and more years paved the way to what we are today. Through numerous engagements in the Community, we Macedonians in Central Ohio have integrated ourselves in the American society. Numerous veterans from foreign wars, successful businessmen, sportsmen, and above all-hard working man and women from our Community are good example of that.
In organizing and successfully conducting sports events, folk dances, Macedonian Language School, Sunday School, Church Choir etc., we continue to grow.
Having broader family at some point of time requires broadening of your existing home or building another one. The family of our Macedonian Community here in Columbus constantly grew in numbers and achievements. After several extensions of the Church and the Church hall in Whitehall in the seventies and eighties were completed, the need for more space rose again. Finally, decision to build the new Church and whole new Macedonian Culture Center was made. Beginning of the new century, the new Millennium marked the start of our new Church on 400 South Waggoner Rd in Reynoldsburg.
In the year 2006 Macedonian Community was struck by unexpected temptation-in an act of arson the old Church in Whitehall burnt almost to the ground. Following Holy Liturgies were held in the Church hall, with congregation holding their tears, in constant prayer to God our Lord and His Most Holy Mother, and in search for the right way to turn events in our favor. And so, as many times before in our history Macedonians have sang their old song, song of persistence, song of salvation, song of Faith.
The very next month after the fire, on October 22nd 2006, the dedication and consecration Liturgy for our new Church was held, preceded by the relocation of the holy relicts of Saint Clement of Ohrid, from the Holy Altar of the old to the Holy Altar of the new Church and with participation of Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, His Beatitude Stefan, Metropolitan Metodij of American-Canadian Doicese, and Metropolitan Kiril of Polog and Kumanovo Diocese, numerous priests of the American-Canadian Diocese of Macedonian Orthodox Church, in presence of multitude of the faithful.
The new incentive, especially for the new generation of American-Macedonians born and raise here in America, was organizing the youth into the Macedonian Orthodox Philanthropic Society of Columbus (MOPS). The organization is inevitable positive factor in everyday activities of the Community, in constant search for various ways in uniting Macedonians, presenting our Community to the wider public of Central Ohio, successfully organizing and conducting sports events (Annual Golf Scramble each August every year) etc. etc.
Woman’s organization of Macedonian Community, through their inclusion in various Church festivities and events, participation in Columbus International Fair in November each year, and this Annual Macedonian Ethnic Festival, was and still is the key link and inevitable seasoning of each and every effort to show up our Macedonian spirit and customs of hospitality, good cuisine, folk dancing, etc. This year President of the Woman’s organization is Ms. Tanja Nikolovska.
The Sunday School provide and maintains the thread that connects our new generation with our ancient ancestry, culture and language. Our Sunday School teacher this year is Ms. Roza Stojčeva.
Our parish priest for the last thirty years is very reverend archpriest father Duško Ġorģievski. His dedication and service to our Church and Community represent an era of growth and successes. Let him serve God and Church for many years to come!
And last but not least, the group that amalgamate each and every Community activity is the Church’s Board. This period the President of the Church Board is Mr. Josif Hristovski.
Today our new Church continues its efforts to be The Body and Blood of Christ, gathering Orthodox American-Macedonians and others, who get attached during last century to Macedonian Community, Christian Orthodox Faith, being one in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Prepared by subdeacon Gorgi Gurcinovski