United Macedonians Organization

Last updated
United Macedonians Organization
Umo-logo.png
Founded1959
FounderJames Saunders (first president)
TypePolitical, cultural, human rights
FocusTo work for the national unity of Macedonians worldwide, regardless of their religious beliefs, political opinions or affiliations
Location
Area served
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
USA
Members
N/A
Key people
President of the Organization Mendo Bakalovski
Executive Board of Directors
Website unitedmacedonians.org

The United Macedonians Organization of Canada (Macedonian : Организација Обединети Македонци) is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1959 and based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada addressing the interests and needs of the Macedonian community of Canada. The organization also supports the human rights of the Macedonian minorities in Greece and Bulgaria, and promotes the irredentist idea of a united and free Macedonia. [1]

Contents

Organization's mission

The United Macedonians Organization has embarked on the following mission: [2]

  1. To work for the national unity of Macedonians worldwide, regardless of their religious beliefs, political opinions or affiliations;
  2. To raise the national consciousness and pride of all ethnic Macedonians;
  3. To work for the attainment of National and Human Rights of all Macedonians, especially those living in the occupied territories of Macedonia;
  4. To promote good public relations with all peoples and governments who support the national independence and development of Macedonia;
  5. To work towards a full international acceptance of the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, and for a greater well being for all its citizens;
  6. To work towards easier integration of Macedonians in their countries of residence; and
  7. To help all Macedonians achieve their utmost in their chosen fields, and thus help society as a whole.

History

First executive committee of the United Macedonians Umo-comitee.jpg
First executive committee of the United Macedonians
King Edward Hotel in Toronto, where the organization was first established King Edward Hotel June 2009 Toronto.jpg
King Edward Hotel in Toronto, where the organization was first established

By the 1950s Toronto had become the epicenter for organizational activity among post-WWII Macedonians in North America. A total of 20,000-30,000 Aegean Macedonians, including many of the deca begalci, or child refugees of the Greek civil war, settled in Toronto. [3] Many among them were spoiling to attack the Greek government for its poor treatment of its Macedonian minority and child refugees. [4] The relatively liberal Canada of Prime Ministers Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau provided fertile ground in which a left wing emigre organization could grow. [5]

In 1959 a group of eight men met at the Bermuda Tavern on Yonge Street. The initial eight men became 12 when they met again at Zhelevo Hall, the social space owned by the Zhelevo Benevolence Brotherhood, a mutual aid society founded in 1907 by migrants from Zhelevo ( Antartiko ) in Aegean Macedonia. Chairing both meetings was James Saunders, a Macedonian-Canadian who had migrated from Zhelevo to Toronto in 1938. On April 28, 1959, the group established itself as the United Macedonians of North America at a gathering at the city’s King Edward Hotel. It started with the Ilinden picnic, an annual gathering of Macedonians on the anniversary of the Ilinden Uprising. The first picnic was held in the summer of 1959 and had brought over 3,000 people together. [6] This manifestation encouraged the committee to make Ilinden an all-Macedonian holiday, which today has become a tradition; drawing ten to fifteen thousand people every year. [6]

The organization undertook many other projects such as publication of periodicals, magazines, newspapers and bulletins explaining the situation in their homeland, and the history of Macedonia. The United Macedonians Committee held many social affairs such as dances, banquets, lectures, and invited many prominent speakers to enlighten Macedonian Canadians about their culture and heritage. In 1962 the committee decided to invite a religious delegation of the Macedonian Orthodox Church from Skopje to attend and officiate at the memorial service for the fallen Macedonian heroes of the 1903 Ilinden Uprising. The delegation was headed by Bishop Naum. The organization also played a significant role in establishing the first Macedonian Orthodox Church in Canada, St. Clement of Ohrid. In August 1962, members of the United Macedonians Organization held a meeting in the King Edward Hotel in Toronto and the decision was made to build a new church in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood which will bear the name of the medieval Saint Clement of Ohrid. After this decision was brought forth, an assembly was also formed and a church delegation was sent by the Holy Synod in Skopje, Macedonia. The first holy liturgy of the parish was carried out on the 12th of August, 1962 in the Zhelevo Hall. The UMO listed over a hundred members by 1965. Many more non-members routinely attended UMO dances and picnics. The list of members contained a large number of Greek surnames – Papadimitriou, Mangos, Sideris, Loukras – a clear indication of the influence of Aegean Macedonians in the group.

The group’s presence in the United States never achieved the size or momentum it did in Canada, with the possible exception of Detroit. A locus of leftist Macedonian activity since George Pirinski's time, Detroit formed an active United Macedonians chapter in 1970. As in Toronto, much of the UMO's work in Detroit was cultural and educational, and brought together Macedonians from the greater Detroit and Windsor area for dances, picnics, and banquets

During the early 1990s, at the height of the Greek-Macedonian dispute, the organization was involved in several disputes with members of the Greek community of Toronto over issues regarding protests for Macedonian human rights in Greece, a Macedonian flag raising ceremony at Toronto City Hall, Macedonian independence parades, and a Macedonian wreath laying ceremony at the bust of Alexander the Great - an historic figure claimed by both communities as their own. [7] Despite strong objection from Toronto's Greek community, Macedonian Canadians were able to successfully carry out these activities throughout the city with permission from city officials. As a result, the then mayor of Toronto, Mel Lastman, fell victim to an attack from Greek-Torontonians, where he was publicly kicked and spat on for his support to the Macedonian community and alleged anti-Greek actions. [8]

The Organization today

Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper with UMO President Dragi Stojkovski, 2009 Harper-Stojkovski.jpg
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper with UMO President Dragi Stojkovski, 2009
Katerina Nurdzieva, a cousin-niece of Goce Delchev, standing beside the UMO war memorial in Toronto, Ontario, Canada War-mem-umo.jpg
Katerina Nurdzieva, a cousin-niece of Goce Delchev, standing beside the UMO war memorial in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The United Macedonians Organization continues to fulfill the cultural and political needs of the Macedonian communities in North America. It holds annual cultural events such as the Ilinden Picnic, the Goce Night Banquet - an annual gathering commemorating the birth of the Macedonian revolutionary Goce Delchev, church events, and festivals. In February 2009, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honorable Stephen Harper attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the United Macedonians Organization, where he was welcomed as the guest of honor. [9]

The organization is the owner of "Ilinden Park", a 30-acre (120,000 m2) lot in Whitby, Ontario. In 1979, UMO built a war memorial dedicated to Canada's unknown soldier and to all those who lost their lives fighting for the liberty of Macedonia. The memorial is made of granite and is located near St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Church in Toronto. The organization is also the publisher of The Macedonian Herald, a Macedonian-Canadian quarterly newspaper.

According to the UMO committee, membership is open to all Macedonians born in ethnic Macedonia, their descendants and spouses who need not be of Macedonian descent, without distinction as to sex, religion or political beliefs, and who agree with the Mission and Goals of the Organization.

Annual events

Annual activities of the United Macedonians Organization are: [11]

Past presidents

Past Presidents of the United Macedonians Organization were: [2]

1959-1966: James Saunders
1966-1967: John Givens
1967-1968: Georgi Lukras
1968-1969: Jimmie Trentos
1969-1971: Tely Moriovche
1971-1973: Anton Opashinov (Pandov)
1974-1975: James Saunders
1976-1977: Tely Moriovche
1978-1979: Petre Vasilevski
1979-1981: Nikola Stojanovski
1981-1982: Branko Stojcevski
1982-1983: Trajan Tegovski
1983-1984: Dragan Dzolganovski
1984-1987: Mendo Bakalovski
1987-1989: Steve Pliakes
1990-1991: Vlade Grozdanovski
1991-1993: Steve Pliakes
1993-1994: Tely Moriovche
1994-1999: Vlade Grozdanovski
1999-2003: Dragi Stojkovski
2003-2006: Boris Mangov
2006-2009: Dragi Stojkovski
2009–Present: Mendo Bakalovski

Logo Information

Information on the organization's logo, according to the committee's official website: [12]

Logo of the UMO Umo-logo.png
Logo of the UMO

Related Research Articles

Bitola Town in Pelagonia Statistical, North Macedonia

Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of North Macedonia. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba, Nidže and Kajmakčalan mountain ranges, 14 kilometres north of the Medžitlija-Níki border crossing with Greece. The city stands at an important junction connecting the south of the Adriatic Sea region with the Aegean Sea and Central Europe, and is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It has been known since the Ottoman period as "The City of The Consuls", since many European countries had consulates in Bitola.

Macedonia (region) geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, today forming parts of Greece and North Macedonia

Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time; however, it came to be defined as the modern geographical region by the mid 19th century. Today the region is considered to include parts of six Balkan countries: Greece, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, and Kosovo. It covers approximately 67,000 square kilometres (25,869 sq mi) and has a population of 4.76 million.

Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization revolutionary national liberation movement in Ottoman territories in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was a revolutionary national liberation movement in the Ottoman territories in Europe, that operated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising revolt against the Ottoman Empire in Southeastern Europe 1903

The Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising, or simply the Ilinden Uprising of August 1903, was an organized revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was prepared and carried out by the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization. The name of the uprising refers to Ilinden, a name for Elijah's day, and to Preobrazhenie which means Transfiguration. The revolt lasted from the beginning of August to the middle of October and covered a vast territory from the eastern Black Sea coast to the shores of the Lake Ohrid.

Kruševo Republic Rebel state in Macedonia, 1903

The Kruševo Republic was a short-lived political entity proclaimed in 1903 by rebels from the Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in Kruševo during the anti-Ottoman Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising. According to subsequent Bulgarian and Macedonian narratives, it was one of the first modern-day republics in the Balkans.

Culture of North Macedonia pattern of human activity and symbolism associated with North Macedonia and its people

The culture of North Macedonia is the culture of the Republic of North Macedonia, a country in the Balkan region, mainly in the area known in the 20th century as Vardar Macedonia.

Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric Orthodox Christian denomination

The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, or simply the Macedonian Orthodox Church, is the largest body of Christians in North Macedonia. It claims ecclesiastical jurisdiction over North Macedonia and is also represented in the Macedonian diaspora. In 1959, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church granted autonomy to the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the then-Socialist Republic of Macedonia as the restoration of the historic Archbishopric of Ohrid, and it remained in canonical unity with the Serbian Church under their Patriarch. In 1967, on the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the Macedonian Holy Synod unilaterally announced its autocephaly and independence from the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Serbian Holy Synod denounced the decision and condemned the clergy as schismatic. Thenceforth, the Macedonian Church has remained unrecognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and all the other canonical Orthodox churches. The primate of the Macedonian Orthodox Church is the Metropolitan of Skopje and Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia and of Justiniana Prima.

Nikola Karev Macedonian revolutionary

Nikola Janakiev Karev was a Macedonian Bulgarian revolutionary in Ottoman-ruled Macedonia. He was born in Kırşova and died in the village of Rayçani (Rajčani), both today in North Macedonia. Karev was a local leader of what later became known as the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO). He was also a teacher at the Bulgarian school system in his native area, and a member of the Bulgarian Workers' Social Democratic Party. He is considered today a hero in Bulgaria and in North Macedonia.

Catholic Church in North Macedonia organization

The Catholic Church in North Macedonia is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome and is one of the major religious communities that exist on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia. Catholic believers from North Macedonia mostly include Albanians, ethnic Macedonians and Croats and are most concentrated in the Skopje Statistical Region and the Southeastern Statistical Region of North Macedonia. There are around 20,000 Catholics in the country — around 1% of the total population.

Macedonian Australians are Australians of ethnic Macedonian descent. Many arrived in the 1920s and 1930s, although larger numbers came to Australia after World War II and the Greek Civil War. By far the largest wave of immigration was during the 1960s and 1970s.

History of the Macedonians (ethnic group)

The history of the ethnic Macedonians has been shaped by population shifts and political developments in the southern Balkans, especially within the region of Macedonia. The ideas of separate Macedonian identity grew in significance after the First World War, both in Vardar Macedonia and among the left-leaning diaspora in Bulgaria, and were endorsed by the Comintern. During the Second World War these ideas were supported by the Communist Partisans, but the decisive point in the ethnogenesis of this South Slavic people was the creation of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia after the World War II, as a new state in the framework of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Macedonian Canadians

Macedonian Canadians are Canadian citizens of ethnic Macedonian descent or Macedonian-born people who reside in Canada. According to the 2016 Census there were 43,110 Canadians who claimed full or partial Macedonian ancestry.

Bulgarian Canadians

Bulgarian Canadians are Canadian citizens or residents from Bulgaria or people of Bulgarian descent. According to the 2011 Census there were 30,485 Canadians who claimed Bulgarian ancestry, an increase compared to the 27,260 of the 2006 Census.

St. Dimitrija Solunski Macedonian Orthodox Church, Markham, Ontario Church in ON , Canada

St. Dimitrija Solunski, also known as St. Demetrius of Salonica, is a Macedonian Orthodox Church located in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, Toronto Church in Ontario, Canada

St. Clement of Ohrid in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the first Macedonian Orthodox Church in Canada and one of the oldest in the Macedonian Orthodox Diocese of America and Canada.

North Macedonia Landlocked republic in the Balkans

North Macedonia, officially the Republic of North Macedonia, is a country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. It gained its independence in 1991 as one of the successor states of Yugoslavia. A landlocked country, North Macedonia has borders with Kosovo to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. It constitutes approximately the northern third of the larger geographical region of Macedonia. The capital and largest city, Skopje, is home to roughly a quarter of the country's 2.06 million inhabitants. The majority of the residents are ethnic Macedonians, a South Slavic people. Albanians form a significant minority at around 25%, followed by Turks, Romani, Serbs, Bosniaks, and Aromanians.

Georgi Konstantinovski Macedonian architect

Georgi Konstantinovski is a Macedonian architect, writer and educator.

Aleksandar Turundzhev Macedonian revolutionary

Aleksandar Kicev Turundzhev was a Bulgarian revolutionary from Ottoman Macedonia and leader of the Lerin cheta of the Internal Macedonian Adrianople Revolutionary Organization. According to the post-WWII Macedonian historiography, he was an ethnic Macedonian.

Smile Vojdanov

Smile Vojdanov was a Bulgarian and Macedonian revolutionary, member and voivode of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, and longtime activist in the Macedonian People's League in emigration.

Larry Koroloff Bulgarian-Canadian historian and linguist

Larry Koroloff is a Bulgarian-Canadian historian, linguist, and educator, activist of the Macedonian Patriotic Organization, editor-in-chief of the “Macedonian Tribune” newspaper, and head of the patriotic organization “Macedonia: Switzerland on the Balkans”, situated in Toronto.

References

  1. "United Macedonians Organization of Canada > About Us". Unitedmacedonians.org. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  2. 1 2 "United Macedonians Organization of Canada > About Us". Unitedmacedonians.org. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  3. Macedonians: Ontario Ethnocultural Profile
  4. See “Macedonians: Ontario Ethnocultural Profile,” in Macedonia: A Collection of Articles About The History and Culture of Macedonia (Toronto: Selyani Macedonian Folklore Group, 1982).
  5. Macedonian-American People’s League of U.S.A., Greek Terror in Aegean Macedonia: A Threat to World Peace and Security
  6. 1 2 "Activities - United Macedonians Organization of Canada". Unitedmacedonians.org. 1972-01-23. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  7. Toronto Star, Jul 30, 1990, A7: "Ancient Rivalry flares on Danforth"
  8. Toronto Star, Dec 07, 1992, A6: "Lastman kicked in Public Brawling"
  9. 1 2 TJ-Hosting (15 February 2009). "Macedonian Human Rights Movement International". Mhrmi.org. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  10. "Activities - United Macedonians Organization of Canada". Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  11. "Activities - United Macedonians Organization of Canada". 2007-08-23. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  12. "United Macedonians Organization of Canada > About Us". 2007-10-10. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2010-07-29.