April 17, 2014

Turkey offers citizenship to Orthodox archbishops

Source: Today's Zamann Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has quietly led the gesture to the Orthodox, who face a shortage of candidates to succeed İstanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 70, and serve on the Holy Synod, which administers patriarchate affairs. Turkish law requires the patriarch to be a citizen. But the Orthodox community in Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim country, has fallen to some 3,000 from 120,000 a half-century ago, drastically shrinking the pool of potential future patriarchs. "The specific call Erdoğan made to give citizenship to those who will take up an official position at the patriarchate came in response to the problems they have," İbrahim Kalın, Erdoğan's chief foreign-policy adviser, said in an interview. … [Read more...]

Patriarchal flag to fly over GOA churches?

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Word on the street is that Met. Methodios of Boston (GOA) told his priests yesterday that each parish must start flying the patriarchal flag. The Archons are donating the flag pole. … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘Patriarchate is dying’

’We cannot breathe, the Patriarchate is dying,’ says patriarch ASLI AYDINTAŞBAŞ ISTANBUL - Milliyet Thursday, December 24, 2009 Following criticism of his controversial statement to a U.S. television network describing his community’s problems, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says his comments were emphasized, but the serious problem of opening Halki seminary needs to be addressed. Criticized for telling U.S. network CBS that he felt “crucified in Turkey,” in an interview he told daily Milliyet, “We are without oxygen, the Patriarchate is dying.” He said the interview with CBS was not planned and that the media had emphasized the crucifixion quote. He said this was a metaphor for detailing Greeks’ problems in Turkey, highlighted by the issue of the Halki seminary located on Heybeliada, one of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands in Marmara Sea. “What will we do, if we cannot raise men of the cloth? Our metropolitan bishops in Europe are over 70 years old. The ones here are … [Read more...]

Report: Phanar backtracks on crucifixion remark

From Today's Zaman (Dec. 24). No statement yet on the Patriarchate's site. The patriarchate’s statement said: “There are similar idioms in all languages, and they are not evaluated in their narrow meanings but in their broad sense in that language. While answering questions in that regard, the patriarch obviously did not intend to imply any pressure from our government.” The statement also said that there was a need to make a public announcement about the issue because the patriarch’s words were interpreted in a way that goes beyond their meaning. Turkish government officials continue to denounce the patriarch for his crucifixion remark: In İzmir, speaking at a conference organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç called the patriarch’s criticism “unacceptable,” while reiterating that Turkey doesn’t consider the patriarchate to be ecumenical in line with the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which governs the status of the … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy and Hellenism group cites Islamic charter in defense of Patriarchate

An unsigned "call to action" in defense of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was published today on the "Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” Web site. This appeal asks readers to sign a Web-based petition which demands that the "Turkish government ... take steps to guarantee the recognition, safety, and protection of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Patriarchate, the Seminary of Halki, and the ethnic minority of Greek Christians living in Turkey." The "call to action" placed the weight of its argument for religious freedom and human rights on a "Charter of Privileges to Christians" purported to have been signed by Muhammad, the founder of Islam, in the 7th Century. The "call to action" described this charter as emblematic of the "established universal position" of human rights that also inspired the U.S. Constitution. The appeal: To those who were privileged enough to see the, CBS 60 Minutes story about His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch … [Read more...]

Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission completes its work

Source: Moscow Patriarchate (12/17/09) The Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission, meeting in Chambesy, Switzerland, closed its work on December 16 with a thanksgiving. The Commission, whose task is to elaborate the agenda of a Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, continued to consider the problem of autocephaly and ways of declaring it – the discussion which began in 1993, and prepared proposals on autonomy and ways of declaring it. The documents prepared by the Commission will be submitted to a Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference. They stipulate in particular that the ecclesiological, canonical and pastoral prerequisites for granting autocephaly to a particular church region, if requested, are to be assessed by the Mother Church at her Local Council. If the Council’s decision is favourable, the Mother Church is to notify it to the Ecumenical Patriarchate which is in its turn to inform other Local Autocephalous Churches in order to find out whether there is a … [Read more...]

Report: 20 Orthodox bishops apply for Turkish citizenship

Writing for AsiaNews.it, Nat da Polis in Istanbul reveals "very important" news: At the suggestion of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, there is the possibility of granting citizenship to the metropolitans of the Turkish Diaspora. This fact satisfies the ecumenical will of Bartholomew and unlocks the door to the possibility that in future a bishop who now resides outside of Turkey may be elected Ecumenical Patriarch. According to current rules, only those who have Turkish citizenship have the right to be elected to the patriarchal throne. Until now 20 metropolitans of the Diaspora have already applied for Turkish citizenship. In the eventual granting of Turkish citizenship to metropolitans of the Diaspora diplomatic circles see the first proof of the sincere will of the Erdogan government to be open to minorities. In fact, it must also be remembered that in mid-December the European Union will examine progress made by Ankara in its march towards Europe. da Polis actually filed … [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...]

‘No progress’ in Turkey

From Forum 18: Religious communities in Turkey have seen no significant progress in 2009 in resolving the long-standing property problems faced by communities as diverse as Alevi Muslims, Catholics, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Greek Orthodox, Protestants, and the Syrian Orthodox Church. Several legal cases in 2009 highlight the difficulties religious minority communities face in regaining or retaining their property. The Mor Gabriel Syrian Orthodox Monastery in Mardin in eastern Turkey is facing long-running legal cases aiming to deprive it of some its lands. Despite appeals by Pope Benedict XVI, the Turkish government has refused to hand back for Christian worship St Paul's Church in Tarsus, a significant historical site for Christians and place of pilgrimage where worship has been curtailed since summer 2009. And victories by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Greek Orthodox foundations in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg have not achieved the … [Read more...]

Moscow: Limited jurisdiction for Constantinople

Pope Benedict and Archbishop Hilarion

From the Moscow Patriarchate's report on the recent meeting between Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Pope Benedict XVI: Archbishop Hilarion stressed the importance of the Orthodox and Catholic common witness to traditional Christian values in face of the secular world. He pointed to the identity of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches’ views on such themes as family, motherhood, population crisis, euthanasia and many other ethical issues. The DECR chairman pointed to essential differences existing on these issues between the Orthodox and Catholics, on one hand, and various Protestant communities, on the other. In this situation the Orthodox-Catholic cooperation in elaborating a common stand on these issues acquired a special importance, he said. Archbishop Hilarion also pointed to the need to enhance the positive potential of the bilateral relations including cooperation in the field of culture. The DECR chairman and the head of the Roman Catholic Church discussed … [Read more...]

Archons: Concerning the Ranks of Churches

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Who's on first? The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle has posted an article harshly critical of what it describes as the Moscow Patriarchate's uncanonical move to assert its status as one of "the five most significant Churches" or the Pentarchy of the ancient patriarchates. The writer of the article, Fr. Makarios Griniezakis, a professor of theology and ethics at the Theological Academy of Heraklion in Crete, maintains that the "28th Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council grants only to the Church of Constantinople the jurisdictional oversight of the 'barbaric lands.'" This position, he said, is also supported by Church history. The extension of the Patriarch of Russia's jurisdiction across lands outside its ecclesiastical borders is uncanonical and a violation of Church order. This is the case when other Primates act similarly. Local Churches would have been able to extend into lands beyond their established ecclesiastical border if the canon referred to ethnicities ("barbarians") … [Read more...]

SCOBA’s Fr. Arey on Chambesy

On the Orthodox Christian Network, Fr. Mark Arey, the General Secretary of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), discusses the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met in Chambésy, Switzerland, in June, in an interview with Fr. Chris Metropulos. "If we're serious, really serious about Orthodox unity, well my friends, we have to do the hard work and put it together," says Fr. Arey. "You can't just snap your fingers and everybody says each bishop can have his own title and then we're done." Fr. Arey talks about SCOBA's future, in light of the move toward a new episcopal assembly, and how that would affect current governance of American Orthodoxy. "It's easy to talk about Orthodox unity when you don't have to actually do it," Fr. Arey says. Listen: From the Chambesy announcement on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Web site: Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the … [Read more...]