April 19, 2014

Faith to Faith: Russian Patriarch ending landmark Armenia visit

Patriarch Kirill and Catholicos Karekin II laying flowers at the Genocide Memorial.

ArmeniaNow.com Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is completing today his three-day visit to Armenia during which he and his Armenian counterpart accentuated the strong bonds between the two churches and peoples. As part of the visit staged at the invitation of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church took part in several events, including a visit to Russian soldiers’ memorial, a meeting with Armenia’s Orthodox faithful and honoring the 1915 Armenian Genocide victims at Tsitsernakaberd. His Holiness Karekin II, and Patriarch Kirill signed an agreement for relationship and cooperation between the two cities of Vagarshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia, and Sergiyev Posad, Russia. The cities have been declared sister cities under the two patriarchs’ auspices. Speaking about the spirit of Christian brotherhood and cooperation present in relations between the two churches, Catholicos Karekin II stressed the warm feelings of gratitude of … [Read more...]

Armenians petition Turks for new patriarch

Who wants to be Patriarch?

I post this for the benefit of Greek Orthodox bishops in America who have aspirations to Turkish citizenship. Make sure you don't displease the Pasha. He'll round file your job application. From the Dec. 10 issue of Today's Zaman: Turkey’s Armenian Orthodox community seeks co-patriarch The Armenian Patriarchate in İstanbul is seeking permission to designate a “co-patriarch” in light of the illness of Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, whom they recognize as their community’s spiritual leader until the end of his life. An announcement on the patriarchate’s Web site announced that they have submitted an application to the relevant authorities toward the selection of a co-patriarch. The statement recalled that until the emergence of health problems, Patriarch Mesrob II had served in his position for 11 years and that on Dec. 24, 2008, the patriarchate decided that he would be the community’s spiritual leader until his death. “As is known, Turkey’s Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II is … [Read more...]

Report: ‘Serious violations’ of human rights in Turkey

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Here's an introductory clip from Forum 18's "TURKEY: Religious freedom survey, November 2009": Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council May 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Turkey, Forum 18 News Service has found that the country continues to see serious violations of international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief. A long-standing crucially important issue, with many implications, is that Turkey has not legally recognised religious communities in their own right as independent communities with full legal status - such as the right to own places of worship and the legal protection religious communities normally have in states under the rule of law. Additionally, the most dangerous threat to individuals exercising freedom of religion or belief has been a series of violent attacks and murders on those perceived as threats; in recent years the victims have been Christians. Here's a hypothetical: What if American bishops in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese applied … [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...]

Guroian on ‘Youth, Unity and Orthodoxy in America’

Dr. Vigen Guroian delivered a talk on “Youth, Unity and Orthodoxy in America” at the 20th Anniversary Annual Meeting of Orthodox Christian Laity in Glenview, Illinois, in November. The theme of the OCL conference: “The Need for a Great and Holy Council.” Here's Dr. Guroian (an advisor to AOI) on Orthodox youth: The college or university is a synecdoche -- a metaphor – representing in microcosm the diverseness and pluralism of America. Likewise, the Orthodox students who arrive at our colleges and universities represent a microcosm of the entire Orthodox presence in America in all of its variety. They come to college for many reasons, with little thought, however, about joining in the great experiment of Pan-Orthodoxy and church unity. Unlike their immigrants forebears who came to America, these young people do not bring to college all of the institutional paraphernalia of their churches. They do carry, however, an Orthodox identity that they feel a need to share and explain … [Read more...]

‘A Patriarch in Dire Straits’

At the Acton Institute, where I labor as communications director, I published a commentary pegged to Patriarch Bartholomew's forthcoming book, "Encountering the Mystery." The commentary was also picked up by the Assyrian News Agency. Read the full commentary here. In 1971, the Turkish government shut down Halki, the partriarchal seminary on Heybeliada Island in the Sea of Marmara. And it has progressively confiscated Orthodox Church properties, including the expropriation of the Bûyûkada Orphanage for Boys on the Prince's Islands (and properties belonging to an Armenian Orthodox hospital foundation). These expropriations happen as religious minorities report problems associated with opening, maintaining, and operating houses of worship. Many services are held in secret. Indeed, Turkey is a place where proselytizing for Christian and even Muslim minority sects can still get a person hauled into court on charges of "publicly insulting Turkishness." This law has also been used … [Read more...]