Physical attack on Macedonian Orthodox priest in Greece


Statement from United Macedonian Diaspora - UMD from 6 March 2023:

"The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is saddened to learn that Archimandrite Nikodim Tsarknias, an 80-year-old Macedonian Orthodox priest in Greece, was again harassed and physically attacked on February 23, 2023, by a group of young Greek men.

UMD calls on the Greek government, the European Union, and all respective international human rights organizations to investigate and end this encouraged intimidation and ensure the protection and civil rights of Macedonian minorities in Greece. These continuing unconscionable acts are not the hallmarks of a modern state that respects its citizens’ rights, regardless of their ethnicity.

While driving home, Archimandrite Tsarknias’ access was purposely blocked by two vehicles, preventing him from crossing the road, in front of the Pontian “Black Sea Club of Almo"pia” building in S’botsko/Aridea. After politely asking the group to move the blocking vehicles, they began verbally attacking him with personal and religious insults. They then escalated their attack by damaging and breaking his car window and attempting to enter the car to physically harm him.

Thankfully, Archimandrite Tsarknias managed to avoid further injury and left the area as quickly as possible. He immediately reported the incident to the local police and filed lawsuits against the perpetrators. Clearly, this was not a random attack, but a planned and purposeful intimidation of an elderly man.

UMD calls on all Macedonian groups to publicize the attack on Archimandrite Tsarknias, emphasizing that such state-sponsored hooliganism is encouraged and continues unabated against Macedonians in Greece.

UMD respectfully appeals to the Greek government, foreign delegations in Greece, the Helsinki Committee in Greece, and the European Court of Human Rights, to put an end to these unwarranted attacks against minority groups in Greece. We ask that Greek authorities condemn the members of the group that carried out the attack and set an example by prosecuting the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.

In addition, UMD unequivocally demands that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia denounce this attack in no uncertain terms and establish a zero-tolerance policy on the mistreatment of Macedonian minorities and their fundamental human rights in the neighboring countries and across the world."

You can find the original statement here: