Assassination attempt on Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople prevented

March 9, 2011 – 17:12 AMT 13:12 GMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – The Turkish police have prevented another assassination attempt on Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, according to the Austrian catholic news agency.

The Turkish police have arrested two suspects aged 17-18. The assassination attempt was planned in the Fanar district, where the residence of the Patriarch is located.

According to representative of the department for foreign church relations at the Russian Orthodox Church Igor Yakimchuk, Turkey is a huge country and there are extremists.

Expert of Carnegie Moscow Center, professor Alexey Malashenko believes that, most likely, Islamists are engaged in the assassination attempt, who are much more radical compared to incumbent Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan.

With respect to the assassination attempt, several Turkish papers referred to a Catholic priest, Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and three protestants, including a German missioner, who were killed by young people aged 16-20, reported.


  1. George Michalopulos :

    Lord have mercy!

  2. Michael Bauman :

    It is the fact that the Patriarch lives in this reality on a daily basis that I give him a lot of slack in his relations with Rome and, to a certain extent his attempt to be top dog in the Orthodox world.

    What he fails to realize is that a vigorous, united Orthodox Church in the US who got that way because of his fatherly direction and support would be his greatest ally in this world.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the Patriarchs are trying to play a zero-sum game.

  3. Michael,

    You are EXACTLY right. The shortsightedness of the Phanar on this issue is unbelievable. We all (the entire American Church) worked together one time, during the Cyprus crisis of the mid 1970’s. We had EVERYONE writing Congress…Greeks, Armenians, other Orthodox…the stories I heard were that no one EVER bombarded the Congress like we did.

    Look at it this way, if we had a united American Church, there would already have been a meeting with the president, called by the American patriarch – a meeting that a sitting president would not DARE to avoid.

    Instead, we are passed down the food chain, and (in the past) had the likes of Madeline Halfbright, who could avoid meetings with the Orthodox with impunity….and allow the US to do things like bomb the Serbs during Holy Week.

    BTW – to site another example – where is the EA statement on the Copts? (now [10 months later!!] that their communications system is up and running). Ditto for that situation…we, in America should be on the front lines….screaming for protection for the Copts. Instead, silence.

    All of which is why some of us, having grown up in the GOA, are their harshest critics. Can you imagine the likes of St. John Chrysostom or St. Photios looking at things thru such a parochial lens? I can’t.

    When the ecumenical patriarch starts acting like an “ecumenical” patriarch…rather than a “patriarch of the Greeks” (to quote Runciman)…THEN he will have the support of the entire Orthodox world, which they so desperately desire and need.

    Supporting (rather than opposing) the formation of a united American church would be a great first step in that direction – one which would endear him to millions of American Orthodox for generations to come.

    Best Regards,

    • Geo Michalopulos :

      Amen, Dean. Our shortsightedness is legendary. And I don’t mean just the Old World. Look at how we are behaving here in the New. Lord Have Mercy.

  4. It will be interesting to see if the press gives the same amount of publicity to the attempted assassination of Patriarch Bartholomew I as it gave to the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. I doubt it.

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      George, it was just a plot uncovered. No real news here, at least for a larger American audience. If an actual attempt was successful, then you may have seen something.

      Re: Micheal’s point above. It is too bad that His Holiness doesn’t realize that a unified American Church could act strongly on his behalf.

  5. Scott Pennington :

    Well, whatever his shortcomings, real and perceived, I will pray for him this evening. This makes seven attempts that I have heard of. He might want to consider doing what the Patriarchate of Antioch has done. The game seems to have left him behind. He had pressed for Turkish admission into the EU. Apparently, the Turks are now more interested in resuming their role as leader of the Islamic world as when they were the Ottoman Empire. The news that I read indicates that that is their current preoccupation. If so, Pat. Bartholomew’s situation could grow even more perilous.

    Lord, have mercy on him.

    • George Michalopulos :

      Scott, unfortunately, I’m afraid that you’ve assessed the situation re the Turks and their putative overlordship of the Islamic world correctly. They simply won’t care about the presevation of another religious-ethnic enclave in their midst or its prerogatives. It’s a whole big nothing to them. Unless the Archons wake up, they are going to simply waste more time and money on trying to revive something that died centuries ago. All these symposia in Brussels (or wherever) on religious freedom and whatnot are in vain. And the GOA bishops who threw away their loyalty to this land will have even less to show for it.

      Lord have mercy on him. Lord have mercy on us all.

      • Scott Pennington :

        You know, George, it’s hard to figure out why he stays there apart from a deep desire to preserve a Christian presence in his homeland. I don’t know exactly what occupies the time of the Patriarch, his synod, etc. and the 2000 or so Greeks who live there; however, I doubt that evangelizing the Turks is a particularly active pursuit of theirs. I could be wrong, and someone correct me if I am, but I assume that the Turks would become even more irate if that were the case and the ethnic barrier would further militate against that. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be doing that, only that doing so would be a bold invitation to martyrdom.

        That being the case, why not just pack up and get on a plane to New York? It’s one thing to risk your life to spread the Gospel, it’s quite another to risk your life and that of your synod, etc. to preserve a “Christian presence” in a hostile Muslim country. I’m not sure that is worth the risk. But, of course, that is his decision to make and I will continue to pray for him.

        • William Harrington :

          Scott. I think he stays there because he is a Christian bishop and a Christian bishop is not supposed to abandon his see. The Phanar has a lot of short sighted policies that serve only to divide Orthodoxy, but his faithfulness to his flock and diocese is one very good reason to admire the EP

          Will Harrington

          • Scott Pennington :


            True, but a Christian bishop also has the duty to preach the Gospel to all those around him. “Go forth and baptize all nations in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”, even if that means martyrdom such as that suffered by all the Apostles except St. John. If his activities are confined exclusively to tending a dwindling flock comprised of his own ethnic group without any outreach to the surrounding Muslim population, then it might be better for him and his persecuted flock to find other accomodations. Otherwise he is a kind of a museum curator, except that the museum is surrounded by mortal enemies. Should a bishop give his life to preserve a museum or to spread the Gospel to those around him? Not a tough one for me to answer.

            Nonetheless, I admire his courage. I can’t say it’s a bad thing for him to stand his ground.

    • Hi all!

      Do you think a “Patriarchate of North-America” or even a smaller “Patriarchate of the United States” could help the Ecumenical Patriarchate? If yes, how? Lastly, how could it help more or better than the current situation? And if all the jurisdictions were unified but as reorganized dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate directly under it, wouldn’t this be better for the Patriarchate? I’m not calling into the discussion if it would be better for Orthodoxy in the U.S. but, trying to understand the question in a very realpolitik approach: what would be better for the EP?

      Fabio L. Leite

      • Michael Bauman :

        Fabio, a united Orthodox Church who had been helped to that position by the EP (rather than be prevented by it) would have far more clout. As an indiginous, unified body (small though we are), our voice would be much stronger. As long as we are considered to be (and are) simply an ethnic ethnarchy of some sort. No one really cares.

        Of course, that all assumes that our bishops are starting to act like bishops instead of satraps, commisars or imperial eunuchs. All of that assumes that the faithful regain a sense of seriousness about the faith and that we are not just a bunch of secularists playing in an anachronistic milleau of some sort or the equally ananchronistic ‘super’ orthodox converts or the ones that try to impose their previous ideology, etc., etc.

        No guarantees on any real-politik outcome, much work, repentance and forgiveness in our future.

      • In my opinion, there should be an Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America because that is what the Canons declare. It would be very much in the interest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to have a thriving Church in America, and all Orthodox Christians in full unity.

        The Ecumenical Patriarchate can retain its importance by its “Ecumenical” status as the “First Among Equals”.

        With regard to its position in Turkey, I think the Ecumenical Patriarchate should remain, although I can understand the opposing views that have been debated for a long time. Nonetheless, the diminishing flock of the Patriarchate and the continued refusal of the Turkish government to permit the reopening of the Halki Seminary raise the question of what will happen in a worst case scenario.

        If the Ecumenical Patriarchate were relocated, it would not be for the first time. During the period of the Latin occupation of Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarch (or the legitimate Orthodox Patriarch) was in exile. There is somewhat of a precedent here.

        There are some encouraging factors regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Russians seem to be working in the Phanar’s favor these days. Last August, there was a beautiful liturgy conducted in the Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Trabezond on the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. This was a beautiful and touching service. This historic Monastery is one of the most important houses of worship in all Asia Minor, not exactly Hagia Sophia, but up there.

        Many Pontian Greek faithful whose ancestors were either slaughtered or fled under the genocide of 1923 returned to attend the services.

        In my opinion, it was quite significent that there were Russian Bishops and faithful who attended the service in solidarity with the Greeks. This was to a certain extent Pan-Orthodox.

        The new community of Russians that are now establishing themselves in Turkey may be that lifeline that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been waiting for.

        The Moscow Patriarchate has certainly been speaking up for the Ecumenical Patriarch most recently.

  6. Its almost time for the annual Omogenia/Obama Love in at the White House. I think an important question to ask ourselves in the context of this article is the following:

    Given how things are playing out in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East is there any evidence that the Obama Adminstration would rally to the EP’s aide if events spiraled out of control in Turkey and the EP was in grave danger?

    I would argue that Obama is the most Ant-Greek/EP president in recent memory and his actions in the Middle East show that he has little concern for Christian Minorities. So why the big love-in from the Greek Community? Why do the Greeks love this guy who would literally sell their entire heritage out?

    • Michael Bauman :

      Well, first thing that comes to mind is that they are east coast liberals before they are even Greek and Greek before the are Orthodox and Orthodox before they are Christian.

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