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KFOR soldiers examine the site where an anti-tank mine killed one and wounded three British soldiers in their armored personnel carrier in the village of Krivenik near Kosovo's border with Macedonia April 14, 2001. The same area has been the scene of other incidents over the past weeks. A shelling incident in Krivenik on March 29 left four people dead, including a British television news producer. Earlier this week, a joint U.S.-Polish peacekeeping patrol came under fire near the same place, but no one was injured. REUTERS/Hazir Reka REUTERS

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Three Serbs, from left to right, Dragan Ilic, 27, Nebojsa Petrovic, 23, and Stojanca Petrovic, 32, sit with ethnic Albanian rebel commander Haxhiu (R) in the village of Konculj, April 14, 2001, after the Serbs' release. Ethnic Albanian guerrillas released the three Serb men in the Presevo Valley on Saturday, saying it was part of efforts to find a political solution in volatile southern Serbia. The Serbs, held since last month in guerrilla-controlled territory just east of the boundary with Kosovo, were handed over to the NATO-led peacekeeping force. REUTERS/Hazir Reka

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EASTER MESSAGE OF THE HEAD OF THE MACEDONIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, HIS BEATITUDE STEFAN.

MIA

The Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, His Beatitude Stefan regarding the greatest Christian Holiday Christ's Resurrection - Easter, sent traditional Easter message to all Christian believers.

The message reads that Christ's Resurrection is the greatest event in the history of the human kind. It is the greatest and fundamental truth of our religion. If Christ did not resurrect then our sermon and religion is empty.

Many had seen and witnessed this unique event in Jerusalem among the accusers, among the soldiers, guards of the Christ's grave and many many others/P>

Now, at the beginning of the third millennium, taking into consideration everything that our resurrected God has given to us, visible and convincible, in this 2000 years, can we confirm that we have seen the resurrected Christ? Can we beloved worshipers, after twenty centuries unity of the human with the God, confess that we have seen God and that we live together in immortality with the God from Golgotha? Can we not speak before testimony of the women founding the Christ's grave empty, before the testimony of the Apostles; can we not see the presence of the resurrected in these 2000 years in the whole history of the mankind? Did we not feel the strength of the resurrection in the spiritual growth of the nations, in bright ideas of the mankind, that are deeply inspired by eternal messages of the Gospel?

Did we not see the resurrected in His Church, which He had found upon His suffering and crucifixion, upon His death and resurrection; Did we not see God in our past, present and future; in the lives of our Christian generations that had left us an example - through the measure of love to cherish the religion and fatherland, to cherish the people as a confirmation of our resurrected joy.

For this reason, in days of joint temptations, let's find strength with God's help, for national and spiritual unity, let's make efforts to reject misunderstandings and mistrust for our mutual interests in order to surpass the differences and to build relations for keeping of the peace and the dignity of all, between the Macedonian people and everywhere in the world.

We can not be devoted to God if we do not show that we are philanthropists!

Reconciliation is bliss both for the life on earth and for eternal unity with the God!

But defending the fatherland is also a duty and obligation for everyone! It can be defended firstly and mostly with our unity by giving everyone what one need, certainly "not allowing evil to win, but to turn evil into good."

Let's us pray the resurrected Christ to help us to surpass these temptations, in order to be able to rejoice him constantly on His glorious Resurrection now and forever. Amen!

EASTER EPISTLE OF THE HEAD OF MACEDONIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, HIS BEATITUDE STEFAN.

Regarding the greatest Christian Holiday Christ's Resurrection - Easter, the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, His Beatitude Stefan sent peace and blessing from God to faithful children of the Macedonian Orthodox Church addressing them with this splendid and joyous greeting Christ has Risen! The message reads:

"The Christ has created this day we to be happy on this day. Why? Because the secret of Christ's Resurrection reveals the secret and the meaning of the whole existence, the sense of the creation of the world and the man. And this means that we are created for life and not for death. The death is a consequence of the sin, which represents one big obstacle separating us from the God. That's why, the whole exceptional dead that the Godhead has done through the union of the three divine persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in one, is comprised in removal of the obstacles that separates us from the God. The first obstacle is the sin of the nature. Here, God has removed the nature in its embodiment. The second obstacle is the sin of the people, which the God of Son removed it in its death and the third obstacle - death the God removed it with its resurrection. For this reason Apostle Paul says that the last enemy for destroy is the death.

However, the bodily death in this world exists after the Christ's Resurrection. How to explain this? Yes, death exists, but the value of the Christ's Resurrection is not longer damnation, a fear, but it becomes temporary and ephemeral dream. The death now is the door to God's Kingdom, a passage to eternal life. Jesus Christ says, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." That's why Easter is named as Holy Pascha, which commemorated the death and resurrection of Christ which freed humanity from the bondage of death, sin and evil.

The Christ is our Pascha, God's Lamb that took upon himself all sins in the world that sacrificed himself for the life of the world. In Old Testament people gave sacrifices to God. The Christ's sacrifice on the Cross differs from all Old Testament sacrifices. Since than, the Christians did not have give any sacrifices because it will mean negation and rejection of the Christ's victim. For that reason, our Church practises the only Holy sacrifice and that is not blood sacrifice, that is the Body and the Blood of the Our Saviour, Jesus Christ celebrating in every liturgy. All this Jesus Christ has given to us on the Last Supper, which is a sign of his constant presence here with us, until his Second Coming. For this reason God says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. He who eats My body and drinks My blood, he will have eternal lifee stays in Me and I in him."

In this turmoil time, when we pass through difficult temptations, when terrorist groups disturb the peace here, we know that after the Cross the Resurrection follows. Let Christ's Resurrection be our faith and hope and that this resurrected joy will not be disturbed. We are resurrected already and we are to live with all our church and national dignity.

The 2000th living of the Holy Church assure us that only the resurrection can provide constant and eternal victory over everything.

Only the resurrection message gives us strength to wage real spiritual struggle: struggle against the sin, struggle against the lust, struggle against our spiritual reformation, and for unity. The strength of the Resurrected Christ and Our Saviour Jesus the Christ is helping us constantly.

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EASTER MESSAGE OF JOAKIM HERBUT, BISHOP OF SKOPJE.

MIA

On the occasion of the greatest Christian Holiday Christ's Resurrection - Easter, Joakim Herbut, Bishop of the Skopje Bishopric and an apostolic Exarch sent the following Easter message to all Christian believers in the Republic of Macedonia:

"Dear brothers and sisters. After being prepared with the grand fast, we have reached to the celebration of the Christ's sufferings and His Resurrection, the most important events in the history of the manhood. For 2000 years now, we celebrate these events: a Man died crucified, was buried and resurrected on the third day. By celebrating these events we celebrate our greatest hope - our life in the immortal eternity.

While reading the text in the New Sacrament of the Holy Bible, we experience these events, upon which our Christian religion is based: 'Jesus has resurrected, It is true He has resurrected', because He is God. Our Christian religion is built upon facts and testimonies of those who participated in person: "Christ has truly resurrected and we saw Him, we touched Him with our hands and we ate with Him.'

This joyful fact that traveled through the centuries, reaches us as a living echo, lives with us even today, as Apostle Peter says: 'We and the Holy Spirit, given to those who obey God, are witnesses of that events.' That is actually the essence of the Christ's resurrection: we have found the God in ourselves, in our hearts. Everything changes within that joy: the difficulties into mercy, the grief into joy, the death into resurrection and life, because Christ has really resurrected and awards us with an eternal life.

After his resurrection, Jesus Christ greets his apostles with the words: 'Peace to you'! I wish you the same: let the peace of resurrected Christ fill your soul and your hearts, let it be the master of our relations and our communities. The peace, that Jesus Christ has given us, comes into effect by truth, justice and love.

Dear brothers and sisters, let your celebration of the Christ's Resurrection be joyful and happy with the peace of Jesus Christ.

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