Women of Faith Network
– Macedonian brunch: activities
In Macedonia, this year2011, we had only one activity.
In January, women of faith from Macedonian Orthodox Church,
Catholic Church and United Methodist Church in Macedonia joined
together in prayer. This activity took place in Catholic Church
Students - theologians from Macedonia
exchanged experiences in the Netherlands
Last year, 13 participants - students and professors from the
Orthodox Theological Faculty and the Faculty of Islamic Sciences
were able to visit the Netherlands to learn about religious life
in this country. They visited several theological educational
institutions, NGOs and religious objects.
This program was organized by the Macedonian branch of European
Women of faith network – RfP in cooperation with Dutch branch
of European Women of faith network – RfP (Martina Heinrichs)
and Dominicanen klooster Huissen in the Netherlands. The fruits
of cooperation can be seen in successfully organized six-day visit
to the Netherlands, from which all participants received a positive
experience, which certainly will have an opportunity to consider
in their future work as theologians and to implement positive
examples in their environment. During their stay, participants
were placed in the Dominican monastery in the Dutch town Huissen.
The monastery typikon: "Under the roof", introduce them
in that home atmosphere in which every member has their own responsibilities
and contribute to the community. They all agreed that it contributed
to feel like one big spiritual family.
From the six-day visit, filled with many events, I will mention
a few that left the biggest impression on students:
- Dominican Monastery in Zwolle
The best experience we had during the students exchange program
in the Netherlands. An excellent project that brings young people
from different religions and education to respect religious and
cultural values of a country. Students are outside their homeland
for several months and this gives them the opportunity to be independent
and gain positive skills that are interested and would be useful
in their lives in the future.
I will make research on internet for a similar project that would
enable the students from countries that are not yet EU members
to gain such experience. I noticed a great interest of the students
from Macedonia to participate in a similar project.
- Islamic University
It is my impression that the Islamic University is different from
others I have visited. In the way that it is independent from
the religious community. The way they are trying to be relevant
Dutch University and the politics of the Islamic University, which
strives to accommodate the requirements of the Dutch educational
system to exist as an accredited university in the country.
- Islam and Dialogue center
Opportunity to socialize with young Muslims in the Netherlands
and to hear about their lives and their inter-religious projects
was also good experience for us. Here, the biggest impression
on me left the documentary "The imam and the priest".
This example I had already retold and it was commented by people
in my environment.
- Institute for Eastern Christianity
For me as an Orthodox theologian this visit was of great interest.
We have got interesting information in the field of Orthodox education
system and its openness to other Christian denominations. Idea:
It would be good in the future to invite some of the professors
who are familiar with the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Macedonia
as a visiting professor.
- Students Church
Until now we were not familiar with Taize - service. This was
the first time, as believers of different religions together to
participate in prayer. Many participants from Macedonia were uncomfortable,
although only because of kindness of the other students. In Macedonia,
inter-religious cooperation is based on introducing each other,
respect and dialogue, but I think that this way for a joint prayer
for now is impossible to be applied in our country. What I liked
in this visit is their project: "Hutspot of couscous".
Very good way of gathering young people from different religions.
- Diner with Dutch families
For the first time we had the opportunity to be familiar with
the lifestyle in a Dutch family, their family values, culture
and foods. And all this from first hand, by very kind and wonderful
- Traditional Macedonian diner
Indeed the culture of the peoples are reflected through food.
Introducing the traditional food of a nation is a prelude to introducing
its culture and beliefs. Therefore, in our preparation of Macedonia's
traditional cooked food for dinner we were deeply excited by the
desire to present it in the best light.
I hope that the our guests from the Netherlands liked dinner :)
This is a good idea to continue to practice in Macedonia, at least
for major religious holidays.
- Council of Churches Netherlands
The Macedonian Orthodox Church is not yet a member of the World
Council of Churches, due to misunderstandings about its name and
autocephaly. So this was a good opportunity to learn more about
the projects that this organization works on, and also to introduce
them with our Macedonian church.
An interesting opportunity to meet people from Macedonia and the
Balkans living in the Netherlands. To hear their experiences and
how they are satisfied with their life-stile in Netherlands. On
the other hand, to introducing them with our view of the relations
in the Netherlands, which we acquired during this brief visit.
- Amsterdam Community Oudezijds
It was a surprise to us that such a Christian humanitarian organization
can survive so long in the environment as the Red Light District.
Building good relations with neighbors, avoiding problems, and
still they are present in this neighborhood for those who need
Overall, the program was wonderful and it was great experience
for all participants.
After this successful project, we continued our cooperation
with Martina Heinrichs from Dutch branch of European Women of
faith network – RfP. Now we are organizing a similar project
which will be held in Macedonia next year. Participants in the
project will be students from the Netherlands and France. The
program will include sightseeing, workshop sessions on icon painting
and bycantinian singing and encounter. Participants will be placed
in a Macedonian Orthodox Monastery.