Home Modern history Macedonians in Bulgaria called for ‘legalization of the Macedonian language’ in 1922

Macedonians in Bulgaria called for ‘legalization of the Macedonian language’ in 1922


In 1922 the board of directors of the Macedonian repatriate organization “Ilinden” in Sofia (Bulgaria) turned to the Bulgarian minister of education, demanding the right to write and publish newspapers and writings in the Macedonian language.

Bulgarian nationalists persistently repeat today that from one side the Macedonian language is Bulgarian, but from the other side they cannot answer why Macedonian is not spoken and written freely in Bulgaria and why Macedonian is subject to persecution at every opportunity.

The question of language came to the fore during the period in power of Aleksandar Stambolijski (he was Prime Minister of Bulgaria from October 1919 until his assassination on June 14, 1924). Inspired by his democratic changes, even the editors of the Ilinden organization turned to the Bulgarian Minister of Education at the time, saying:

“We state with all honesty that the Bulgarian government, which emerged from the Bulgarian peasant movement, is looking at this question exactly as we are and is promoting a unilateral separation of Macedonia from the influence of the Bulgarian government. The Turks in Bulgaria have the right to newspapers and writings in Turkish language, the Armenians in Armenian, the Russians – in Russian, regardless of whether they come from regions connected to Bulgaria or are immigrants. So why this is not allowed to us Macedonians, to write in our own language? And we have a language, Minister. After all that we have mentioned, it would be a virtue, Minister, to recognize the right of a foreign population who has emigrated from a foreign country, Macedonia. “

Ilinden organization was founded in Bulgaria

The Ilinden organization was founded in Sofia and had its own media, the newspaper “Ilinden”, which began to appear on July 30, 1921 under the editorial staff of A. Panov. Such societies were established in several cities in Bulgaria, where a strong Macedonian expat community lived.

After the “Sofia Society”, which served as the basis, other companies were founded. By the end of 1922, 31 Macedonian associations with a total of 4,340 members had been founded in various cities in Bulgaria.

In January 1923 the founding congress of the Ilinden organization took place. The organization was led by a board of 7 people, 4 of whom were elected by the Sofia Society and the rest by the Congress. The Ilinden organization represented the position of Macedonia’s autonomy and independence.

With the permission of the Ottoman authorities, the bodies of Goce Delčev and Dimitar Guštanov were buried together after the Battle of Banitza (in Aegean Macedonia). In 1906 Čakov returned to Sersko (modern Greek: Serres).

Together with Taska Spasov-Serski, they decided to exhumate and recover the bones of Delčev and Guštanov. Since there was an Ottoman guard near the tomb, they secretly dug up the bones and took them to the home of Nikola Mutafčiev, a priest in the Sveti Nikola church.

Related topic: Half of the Bulgarian population are Macedonians

At the request of Čakov and Taska, he made a box as a coffin for the exhumed bones and placed it under the throne in the church. The clergyman was implored to keep the secret to himself. In 1907 Čakov went to Banitza and checked the box with Delčev’s bones.

During World War I, Nikola Mutafčiev moved to the village of Kıyıköy (in Thrace, Turkey) near Skeča (now Xanthi in northern Greece), and by chance Čakov also moved here.

During the war Banitza was hit hard (the village is now nothing more than a collection of ruins) but the box with Delčev’s bones remained in the church. Čakov recovered the bones and kept them in Skeča, Plovdiv and Sofia until 1923. In August 1923 Goce Delčev’s remains were exhibited in the Sveta Nedela Church in Sofia, then they were “stored” in the attic in the roof of the church.

A month later, they were collected by the Ilinden Organization at the Ilinden House in Sofia, where they were placed in a sarcophagus on which the oath of the Macedonian generations to transfer the bones from Goce to the Macedonian capital was engraved.

SOURCE: Nova Makedonija, “Македонците во Бугарија бараат македонски јазик во 1922 година” from November 15th, 2020 translated by History.mk

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