Chai Chats

On Sunday February 18th 2018, the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society launched the first event of 2018, Chai Chats. At the lounge of Canadian Macedonian Place, over 35 friends gathered reminiscing about our rich culture and history over traditional mountain tea (Chai) and pastries.

Items from the resource centre and museum that were showcased at the event included; a handmade kaval made and donated by Paul Mangov; a doll dressed in a traditional Macedonian costume donated by Patsy Sider; a 1945 Toronto picture of a Macedonian picnic of Ilinden; two ancient Macedonian coins donated on November 24, 1995 (5th Anniversary Banquet) to the CMHS by Dr. Blagoj Belchevaski & Dipl. Engr. Viki Belchevaski & family as a symbol for the beginning of a permanent Macedonian artifact collection at the Canadian Macedonian resource centretwo volumes published in the nineteenth century: Kiril Pejcinovik’s Utesenie gresnim (“Comfort to Sinners”), a book of teachings and prayers, published in Salonika in 1840; and Gjorgi Pulevski’s Resnik od tri jezika (“Three Language Dictionary”), published in Belgrade in 1875. These two works were donated by Professor Christina Kramer (University of Toronto) to the CMHS and are of particular importance, both for the history of the modern Macedonian standard language, and for the documentation of Macedonian national awareness.

A special donation was made of a framed picture of Zoe’s Christo’s maternal grandfather, Vojvoda Ilja Digalov (1890 - 26. XI 1922). Zoe Christo gave an emotion account of her grandfathers life as a Macedonian Revolutionary and how he was betrayed by a Greek priest, captured and killed. His severed head being paraded throughout the village as a warning for other Macedonian not to join the resistance against their oppressive Greek occupiers.

Zoe Christo Donating a framed picture of her maternal grandfather Ilija Digalov to CMHS President Tony Markovski.

The following story was published in Македонска нација (March 29, 2017) and translated from Macedonian to English using Google Translate.

Ilija Digalov (1890 - 26. XI 1922) is a Macedonian revolutionary, Kostur and Prespa military leader, a member of the Macedonian Revolutionary Movement. Known as Ilo Digala, he as a young man becomes a knight of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. He participates in the BalkanWars and World War I, and after, with hes friends, establishes a network of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. He is one of the bright figures of the Macedonian Revolutionary Movement that operates after World War I in the Western part of Macedonia.

Ilija Digalov was born in 1890 in the Kostur Region (V'mebel), the Aegean part of Macedonia. By the second grade he is taught at a Greek school, and then two more in the exarchate school. Although he did not acquire higher education, he had a great school life. Apart from his mother tongue, he was able to read and write in Greek and Albanian. Already as a pupil he had a brave character and as a young man became a knight of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization.

In 1912, during the First Balkan War, he joined the company of Vasil Chakalarov and took part in the fighting in Olista and other settlements. After the Second Balkan War, inability to avoid serving in the Greek army, after six months of hiding, is reported to Florina. Serves first in the Metropolitan Department, and later becomes the NCO of the Greek Army. But, realizing that there is no place for him and that he should serve his Macedonian people, Digalov with one of his friends, deserts and becomes a voivode in Kostur and Prespa.

During the First World War, he was transferred to Bitola where the Bulgarians first arrested him, and then acted as an ambassador for the Bulgarian army in the Prespa region. After 1918 he leaves for Bulgaria, where he tries to continue his education.

At the end of 1919, with the assistants Alija Ibraim from Plasnica, Kichevo, and Stoyan Georgiev from Stenje, Prespa, Ilija Digalov went to Macedonia, where he works in Upper Prespa. In the spring of 1920 they acted in Kichevo, and in the summer - in Ohrid. The winter of 1920-1921 is spent in Albania, and in the spring, they operate in Prespa. With comrades, Digalov establishes a network of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, captures and punishes the government's collaborators.

In 1921 he left for Bulgaria, but he was surrounded and wounded in a fight in Mariovo. He hides in Prilep and after a new fight, retreats to Albania. He operates in Kostur Region and then through Albania passes through Prespa, where he operates there until winter.

In Albania, he is in contact with Hristo Cvetkov and Krsto Ljondev, representatives of the Macedonian Federation Organization, who in an agreement with the autonomists of Alexander Protogerov try to establish the governing bodies of the Albanian territory. Digalov considered that they cannot engage the Macedonian people for foreign interests and that Macedonia is worthy of holding the Macedonian movement.

In the spring of 1922, he continued his activities in Upper Prespa, in May he moved to Kostur Region, and then organized the villages in Mala Prespa, which at that time are in Greek territory. In 1922, Digalov and four of his Chetniks were handed over to the Greek authorities for 20 000 drachmas. In a battle that develops with a Greek gendarmerie, Dimalov dies together with his friend Stoyan Georgiev on November 26, 1922 near the village of Globocani, Korchan village (Albania).

The loss of Ilija Digalov was rated as one of the largest for VMRO in Western Macedonia before 1924. The Prespa regional of Digalov is inherited by Peter Angelov.
Source: Илија Дигалов. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from

As a token of appreciation, each guest in attendance of Chai Chats received a copy of the book "Men
in White Aprons" by Harry Vjekoslav Herman. Just a Herman seeks to promote and tell the Canadian
Macedonian experience, so too does the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society.

The archived collection of textiles artifacts, books and film are largely due in part to our community,
as well as their involvement, the Canadian Macedonian Historicla Society can preserve the items we
treasure all while making sure our rich culture and history is never forgotten or lost.
Come and continue celebrating your stories with us at our next event!
Please find a full list of events on our Google Calendar on the HOME page.