April 16, 2014

Patriarch Bartholomew: Turkish Government Wants to Wipe Us Out

Asia News reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued a new report "which denigrates the 'minority' presence of the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey, and refuses to recognize the 'ecumenical' character of the ancient patriarchate." It seems that the Turkish foreign ministry is trying to make the patriarchate "disappear," continuing to call Bartholomew I "the patriarch of Fanar [editor's note: the neighborhood where the patriarch resides]," refusing to use the title "ecumenical" and acknowledging only that he has spiritual responsibility for the domestic Greek minority, and not for the Orthodox communities connected to Constantinople. It also seems almost a concession from above to accept that Bartholomew I uses the title "ecumenical" abroad. Said the Patriarch: "We are not finished, or hopeless." The news service also cited a source who said that Turkey "was highly disturbed by the emphasis that the Russian media gave to the presence of ecumenical patriarch … [Read more...]

Paul Weyrich Dies — May His Memory be Eternal

Sad news today. Paul Weyrich passed away. Here's part of the news release: Paul M. Weyrich, 66, who helped found the Heritage Foundation and at one time was one of Washington's most visible conservatives, died this morning. At his death, he was president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. Heritage announced this morning: "Paul M. Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and first president of The Heritage Foundation, died this morning around 1 a.m. He was 66 years old. Weyrich was a good friend to many of us at Heritage, a true leader and a man of unbending principle. He won Heritage's prestigious Clare Boothe Luce Award in 2005. Weyrich will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, including son Steve, who currently works at Heritage." Paul Weyrich was a conservative in the true sense of the word: a man who drew from the enduring principles, most of them rooted in his deep faith in God. Mr. Weyrich was a deacon in the Melkite … [Read more...]

Giannoulias for Ill. Governor?

At least the "Obamakis and Bidenopoulos" crowd won't have to create a phony Greek name for Alexi. The Chicago Sun-Times in "Obama's Basketball Pal for Governor?": Giannoulias' close association to Obama, even if Obama does not formally endorse him, could be a big advantage to Giannoulias in a crowded primary, especially if no major African-American candidate jumps into the mix. [...] Giannoulias, 32, was born in Chicago to Greek parents, played professional basketball in Greece and got to know Obama shooting hoops on the University of Chicago campus when Giannoulias was a student and Obama a senior lecturer. He was a vice president in his family's Broadway Bank before being elected Treasurer. [...] Giannoulias faced heat last year when he had to testify about a $1 million loan he made to an 86-year-old woman described by her family as "feeble-minded." The woman initially applied for the loan with co-borrowers who had a history of fraud allegations against them. After … [Read more...]

Catholic-Orthodox: The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family

The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family of the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum on the theme: ‘The Family: A Good for Humanity,’ Trent, Italy, on December 10-14, 2008. Preamble By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we, thirty representatives of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches in Europe, from countries stretching from the Urals to the Atlantic, have gathered together for the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum. We express our gratitude to all who have worked for the success of this meeting, especially to the Archbishop of Trent who warmly received us and offered hospitality. The meeting has been organised by the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), in close collaboration with various Orthodox Churches and some of the dicasteries of the Holy See. We have expressed our deep sorrow at the sudden death of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, who had warmly extended his blessing upon the project of this Forum. What is the … [Read more...]

Abp. Ieronymos: Redefine our message

During a visit to Ionian island of Zakynthos yesterday, Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, warned yesterday that the Church has to redefine its message for contemporary society. If today we do not, like [island patron saint] Saint Dionysios, give witness to the ecclesiastical truth in a spirit of humility, peace and unity, then we will be tragic and outdated figures of an atavistic past with an eccentric role in our popular and meaningless religious festivals. In Kathimerini's "Face to Face with Ourselves," Nikos Konstandaras includes the Greek clergy in the long list of those culpable for the current anarchy on the streets of Athens. … [Read more...]

‘Work to Eat, Steal to Have’

What a beautiful country and what a heartbreaking spectacle of anarchy and self-hatred. A friend forwarded me this note that he received from a relative in Athens. The matter-of-fact closing line is revealing. Athenians have been coping with this malaise for a long, long time: Every person you ask will have his own take on the riots/events in Greece/Athens, mine is the following: What Greece faces is a situation were you no longer have a society. You have people who happen to be at the same place and everyone is going for his own with no regard to anything. The "System" is considered unfair & ineffective by almost all. This attitude comes across in the quote: "work to eat and steal to have" The situation is the result of the bureaucratic nature of the State, the statist ideology of the Country, and a System/attitude that does not reword work nor allows the most competitive bids to usually win. Concerning specifics: Karamanlis is not considered to be making money … [Read more...]

Alexy II: A ‘Transitional’ Patriarch

Vladimir Berezansky, Jr., a U.S. lawyer with experience in Russia and former Soviet republics, recalls an interview with Patriarch Alexy II in 1991. Like many Russians at the time, the Patriarch was coping with a "disorienting change" following the fall of the Soviet Empire, Berezansky writes. At the time, he seemed overcome by the changes taking place around him, and he did not know where to begin. "For our entire lives, we [clerics] were pariahs, and now we are being called on to do everything: chaplains for the military, ministries to hospitals, orphanages, prisons," he said. He even voiced regret about taking the time to travel to the United States. But he had gambled -- correctly, as it turned out -- that he could do more for his flock by seeking foreign assistance than by staying home to manage the Russian Orthodox Church's destitution. His plate was full and overflowing, and he seemed keenly aware of the ironies of his situation. The Russian state was returning … [Read more...]

The Church and the Terror State

Priests, archbishops and a metropolitan imprisoned in the Solovetsky labor camp (1926). Solovetsky, a thriving monastery before the Bolshevik takover, was returned to the Russian Church in 1990. Source: Tomas Kizny

The Moscow Times reports on the funeral of Russian Patriarch Alexy II: Candles flickered and white-robed elders chanted prayers as the country bade farewell Tuesday to Patriarch Alexy II, who guided the country's dominant Russian Orthodox Church through its remarkable recovery after decades of Communist-era repression. Nuns, believers and government officials looked on as prayers filled the soaring Christ the Savior Cathedral at a six-hour funeral service for Alexy, who died Friday at age 79. He was buried later Tuesday at the Epiphany Cathedral across town in a ceremony closed to the public and media, the church said ... "We are burying a great man, a great son of our nation, a beautiful holy fruit grown by our Russian church," Reverend Dmitry Smirnov, a Moscow archpriest, said in an address at the funeral, which was broadcast live on state-run television. "Our whole nation has been orphaned." The BBC has a clip from the very moving funeral service here. I published "The … [Read more...]

‘Greece in Self-Destruct Mode’

From the Toronto Star: "The central core of Athens has been in chaos," says Andre Gerolymatos, a professor of Hellenic studies at Simon Fraser University, who was caught in the rioting when he arrived at his hotel. "There are anarchists, students, hoodlums and thieves breaking windows of stores and looting." From Alexis Papachelas, writing in today's Kathimerini: I feel a deep sense of despair as I watch my country roll down an endless hill. A good friend put into context well: “You remember the euphoria we felt when we won the European soccer championship or in the summer of the Olympic Games? Well, today I feel the absolute opposite.” The fatal shooting of the teenager in Exarchia and the destruction that followed struck a vein of rage and has created a wave of senselessness that has choked all reason. Teenagers are taking to the streets because they are disillusioned with the legacy they have inherited and know how hard it will be to maintain their standard of living in … [Read more...]

Russia Prays for its Patriarch

The death of Russian Patriarch Aleksy II, the man who guided the world's largest Orthodox Church during Soviet repression and then into a period of recovery and growth, will occasion a time of deep reflection and prayer for Orthodox Christians the world over. The Zenit News Service has published this touching account of the Patriarch's passing by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria, representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to European Organizations: In my memory Patriarch Alexy will remain first of all as a loving father, who was always ready to listen, who was supportive and gentle. Almost half of the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, including myself, were ordained into episcopate by Patriarch Alexy. We are all deeply indebted to him. The years of his patriarchate constituted an entire epoch in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was precisely in this time that the resurrection of the Russian Church took place, which continues to this … [Read more...]

Comment glitches

For some reason, the blog was automatically turning off the comment function when we added new posts. Not intentional. Apologies. … [Read more...]

Met. Nicholas on Michigan’s Economic Crisis

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit discusses Michigan's severe economic decline -- caused by the state's close ties to the auto industry -- and its effect on the state's parishes in an interview with the Greek-American newspaper National Herald (available on the Orthodox Christian News site with free registration). To tell you the truth, our people have been affected in some ways, but not as strongly as some other communities because the majority of our people our educated people. There are scientists working for the auto companies and also people working in the lines, but many of those people have retired so either they received a buyout or pension. Most of the young people are working as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists. Interviewer Theodore Kalmoukos also asked Metropolitan Nicholas about the direction of the Church in America. The Metropolitan answered: I hope we are going to God’s kingdom, but in order to get there, we have to strongly proclaim the gospel … [Read more...]