03 March 2004

Official statement on the death of Boris Trajkovski in a plane crash on 26th February

Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski was killed, aged 47, on Thursday 26th February 2004. His plane crashed in mountainous terrain during fog and heavy rain near Stolac in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina on his way from Skopje, Macedonia to Mostar, Bosnia. He was a prominent Methodist, and had long standing links with Ley Hill Methodist Church in Buckinghamshire.

The Methodist Church released the following statement on 2nd March.

We join with the United Methodist Church in expressing our heartfelt shock at the news of the death of President Boris Trajkovski of Macedonia. Inspired by his Christian discipleship he was a tireless worker for peace and reconciliation in the midst of the most recent political and social upheaval in the Balkans. His commitment to the unity and stability of the people of Macedonia meant he lived his own life under pressure and not without threat or risk from those who wanted a different outcome. Yet his love of God meant he could do no other. In recognition he was presented with the Peace Award of the World Methodist Council in 2002.

We pray for his family, for his wife Vilma and his two children. We uphold them before God. We give thanks for his witness. We pray that it might inspire many more to work for peace and see the way of reconciliation as the future hope. We pray for the leaders of the Macedonian Orthdox Church and other confessions and faiths, and for all the politicians and community leaders who must now take responsibility for the life of the nation.

Boris brought to the name of Methodist respect and honour in a part of the world where the label of sect is easily levelled at minorities. He demonstrated that God's grace crosses boundaries of race and culture. We mourn his death but give thanks for his life, for his courage and witness to the God who calls each one of us into the ways of reconciliation and peace.

Mr Colin Ride
Europe Secretary
on behalf of the Connexional Team and Methodist Church in Britain.

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