Bp Efraim M. Tendero, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, together with Bp Thomas Schirrmacher, Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, paid a visit to His Excellency Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia. He was accompanied by a delegation of the Evangelical Protestant Initiative (EPI), in which Protestant churches of the country cooperate with each other.
During the meeting, Bp Tendero expressed his gratitude to President Ivanov for his leadership and efforts in promoting the values of respect and harmony in the Macedonian multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. He commended Macedonia’s active contribution in the field of inter-faith dialogue, by organizing the four World Conferences on Inter-Religious and Inter-Civilization dialogue. He thanked the President for being a patron of the commemoration of the 500 years of the Protestant Reformation in Macedonia.
President Ivanov emphasized the importance of the Macedonian model of coexistence and respect of diversity, which is fundamentally different from the western tradition of tolerance. This model allows integration without assimilation of all ethnic and religious communities in Macedonia, including the Evangelical Christians. President Ivanov expressed his gratitude to the Evangelical Protestant Churches in Macedonia for their support during the refugee and migrant crisis, by providing humanitarian relief to around a million refugees that went through Macedonian territory.
At the end of the visit, Bp Tendero presented the handbook ‘Evangelicals Around the World’ on behalf of the WEA, and Bp Schirrmacher all the reports to the UN delivered by the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeld. President Ivanov in turn presented both a book he edited on the Orthodox father of the church in Macedonia.
Bp Tendero and Bp Schirrmacher also addressed approx. 12,000 Macedonian evangelical protestants at the commemoration of the 500 years of Reformation conveying the greetings from WEA and the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) congratulating the Macedonian evangelical protestants for their efforts to promote the gospel and the work towards flourishing of every segment of the Macedonian society. It was the largest ever Protestant service in the country gathering around a forth of all Protestants in the country.