April 24, 2014

Ataturk: Immortal Leader and Unrivaled Hero?

In "Turkey Shocked by Chain Smoking, Raki-Swilling Atatürk," Spiegel Online reporter Daniel Steinvorth reports on the controversy over a new film released to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. ... Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül showed that the seven-decade anniversary can also be celebrated in another way -- one perhaps more to the liking of the Kemalist Thought Association. At a ceremony at the Turkish embassy in Brussels, he gave a lecture on the difficult formation of the Turkish State and the expulsion of Greeks and Armenians, a fact which Gönül described as a "very important step." At the end of the day, he said, modern Turkey would not be as we know it, "if Greeks still lived on the Aegean and Armenians still lived in different parts of Turkey today." In other words: the historical expulsion, deportation and extermination of the two population groups, as the thinking goes, are to be welcomed. Between 1.5 and 2 million Anatolian … [Read more...]

Obamakis and Bidenopoulos

Opa! Obama!

Political candidates follow a time-honored campaign strategy of reaching out to ethnic groups and religious communities, and Orthodox Christians have been courted this way for years. It works both ways, of course. Now, little more than a week after the election, we're getting a good look at how politicians and political operatives of Greek descent -- many of them prominent in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese -- have been working for years to promote President-elect Barack Obama and running mate Sen. Joseph Biden. The Greeks for Obama group, for example, developed this catchy slogan: "If you are Greek and love Obama, clap your hands." On Nov. 5, the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes told supporters that it had raised $500,000 for Obama's campaign just weeks before the election. (full message appended at bottom of post). Andy Manatos, a public relations executive who also chaired last summer's GOA Clergy-Laity Congress, led the effort for this group. "Moving the huge American … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Jonah to lead OCA

Metropolitan Jonah

The Orthodox Church in America announced that Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada today at the 15th All-American Council of the OCA. Ancient Faith Radio has Metropolitan Jonah's address to the council, where he offers insights about the nature of leadership in the Church. "Power corrupts and that power needs to be renounced," he says. Listen here. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette said the 49-year-old Metropolitan "was chosen after two ballots and a vote by the synod of bishops." The following is the official statement from the OCA: PITTSBURGH, PA -- On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was born James Paffhausen in Chicago, IL, and was baptized into the Episcopal Church. … [Read more...]

Obama Defeats ‘Social Darwinists’?

Bishop Savas of Troas

Update (11/19/08) -- In "Bush's record in Africa receives well-deserved praise," USA Today's DeWayne Wickham gives us this: This year, Bush signed a bill that authorized up to $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — most of it to be spent in sub-Saharan Africa — from 2009 through 2013. Since 2003, the Bush administration has provided funding to increase the number of Africans receiving anti-retroviral drugs from 50,000 to about 1.4 million, Frazer said. -- End update -- Did God ordain an Obama victory? You get that impression from Sava on a Rolla, the blog of Bishop Savas of Troas. In a post titled, "This is the Day that the Lord has made!," the chancellor of the Greek Archdiocese celebrates the victory of President-elect Barack Obama in terms that can only be described as divine: Do I expect miracles from the President-Elect? Am I confusing the man with the Messiah? Of course not. But neither is he the Antichrist, as some of his opponents would have … [Read more...]

Another Brawl at the Holy Sepulchre

Maybe it's time to put these on pay-per-view, like they do for the cage fighters. Here's the report from AP on those brawlin' monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem: A bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead were both taken away in handcuffs after scuffling with dozens of riot police. Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene. Note to AP: The Orthodox Church is not a "sect." Note to monks: I teach my Sunday School class that Christianity is The Way of brotherly love, peacemaking, and mastery of the passions. You are not making my job easier. … [Read more...]

Thomas Sowell before the election

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Congratulations to Wesley J. Smith

The Human Life Foundation awarded its "Great Defender of Life" to Wesley J. Smith last month for his tireless work in defense of human life. I've admired Mr. Smith's work for years, have read most of his books, and even reviewed one for Town Hall a few years back. His books are invaluable in keeping you informed about the relentless assault on human dignity waged behind closed doors in our culture. You are not informed about these issues unless you are familiar with his work. … [Read more...]

Heritage on Religious Freedom and Same-Sex Marriage

A new policy paper from The Heritage Foundation warns that the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions "poses significant threats to the religious liberties of people who continue to believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman." These threats are acknowledged by both those who support and those who oppose redefining marriage, according to to Thomas M. Messner, a Visiting Fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at Heritage. Some "talking points" from Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty: -- Judicial decisions redefining marriage to include same-sex unions state that limiting marriage to men and women is a form of unacceptable discrimination against homosexuals. -- The freedom to express the view that marriage involves a man and a woman will come under growing pressure as courts, public officials, and private institutions come to regard the traditional understanding of marriage as a form of … [Read more...]

In the Wake of the Election

Whether your guy won or lost on Tuesday (mine came in second) you have to marvel at this very exceptional nation called America. And, indeed, the whole world is doing just that. In an editorial, the Times of London described the election as a "Masterclass in Democracy": The world has been fascinated and profoundly moved by this election most of all because of what America is — a nation founded on universal aspirations, and thus a mirror to humanity. For two centuries that mirror has seemed irreparably cracked by the legacy of slavery and segregation, a pernicious and enduring racism that remains a factor in the blighted lives of so many of the poor blacks among whom Mr Obama launched his political career. He is not the last role model they will ever need, but he is the most powerful proof his country has produced that it is ready to judge them by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. The world watched as 121 million Americans peacefully went to the polls and … [Read more...]

Interview with Bp. Hilarion of Vienna and Austria

Reflections on the American Orthodox experience by foreign leaders are often interesting. Sometimes they are even insightful. That's what we see in the recent interview with Bp. Hilarion of Vienna and Austria conducted by Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York. Discussion ranged from the American jurisdictional divisions, proper ecclesiology, the failure of ecumenical initiatives, to Bp. Hilarion's musical compositions (The Passion of St. Matthew). Some highlights: Your Grace, as an archpastor and scholar, with experience both within the Moscow Patriarchate and globally, you have reflected on a vast array of topics, many of which are now of key importance to us in the Orthodox Church in America as we prepare to meet in council and elect a new primate. While we in America reflect on the origins of our autocephaly, the recent scandal in our Church, and the challenges we face, how do you see a way forward for us? I … [Read more...]

Mattingly: What do the Converts Want?

In light of the recent exchanges on The Observer about converts, cradle Orthodox and the future of American Orthodoxy, we are republishing Terry Mattingly's essay that touches on these important issues. This article was adapted from an address titled "So What Do the Converts Want, Anyway?" given at the 2006 Orthodox Christian Laity conference in Baltimore. Terry Mattingly, an advisor to AOI, is director of the Washington Journalism Center, editor of the www.GetReligion.org website, and a weekly syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. What Do the Converts Want? By Terry Mattingly It doesn't take a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies to tell the difference between a Southern Baptist church and an Orthodox church. You can get some pretty good clues just by walking in the door and looking around. But there are some similarities between the two that might be a little trickier to spot. For instance, let me tell you about what life is like on Sunday nights in a Southern … [Read more...]

Fr. Hopko: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy

Fr. Thomas Hopko, an advisor to AOI, delivered an address in late September for the 40th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Chapel at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, a monastery for women in Ellwood City, Pa. Fr. Tom observes that while a "sprinkling" of Orthodox Christians in academic circles have been known to the wider American public, "hardly any other practicing Orthodox Christian has been publicly recognizable in American society in the past forty years." Among the clergy, the late Archbishop Iakovos is singled out for social witness in the civil rights movement. "Things are not much different today," Fr. Tom says. "But there are some notable exceptions." He opens with a sobering assessment and then explores the accomplishments of the Church in recent decades: A Spiritual Springtime for American Orthodoxy -- Reflections on the last 40 Years Membership in the Orthodox churches in North America in the past forty years has radically decreased. There … [Read more...]