July 28, 2014

Is Greece European?

Greeks rioting at Syntagma Square

I lived in Greece a while back and have returned five or six times since. The problems that caused Greece's economic collapse were evident even back in the mid-1990s and like all Greeks, I learned how to play the system in order to survive. We really had no other option. Getting around the rules was necessary if you didn't want to throw all your money and time away. For example, when I first arrived I was told to go to this office and the next to pay what amounted to tribute. If you paid, you got a stamp. People warned me about this so I asked a friend who was a notary public to stamp and sign every page of every document I needed before I left. It was nonsense and I knew it but I wanted to be prepared. The first few days I was reluctant not to play by the rules because I did not know what the rules were. But I found out soon enough. I went to one office and paid around $25, got the stamp and then was told to go to the next office. The trouble was that the next office was in … [Read more...]

Orthodox Churches Object to National Identity Cards

christian-century-logo

First of all, let's dispense with the pejoratives: Conservative and nationalist wings within the churches have held demonstrations in Athens and Moscow and claim that the cards will compromise national and religious identity. Many have gone so far as to say that identity numbers such as 666 are the "mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. Archimandrite Iannuarii Ivliev, a professor of biblical studies at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy told the May edition of Neskuchny Sad, a Russian Orthodox magazine, that the obsession with symbols such as 666 are the result of a primitive interpretation of the Book of Revelation. All that might be true, but it is beside the point. Let's examine instead the salient point: Patriarch Kirill II of the Russian Orthodox Church told a meeting of the Bishop's Council of the Russian Orthodox in February that "the church understands the position of people who do not wish to be subject to control … [Read more...]

New European Union school calendar omits Christian holidays

European Union

So we are supposed to believe that omitting the Christian holidays was a mistake? Source: Catholic News Agency | HT: Monomakhos Strasbourg, France, Jan 14, 2011 / 02:11 pm (CNA).- A 2011-2012 school calendar published by the European Union has omitted Christian holidays, while continuing to note important Jewish and Muslim celebrations. The European Union has printed three million copies of the calendar which will be distributed free-of-charge to students who request them. Former French politician and government minister, Christine Boutin, wrote in her blog Jan. 11 that the calendar leaves out Christianity, “the religion practiced or recognized as forming the cultural assembly of our ‘old’ continent.” Boutin is a consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Family, as well as president of the Christian Democratic Party in France. She went on to lament that Christianity has “fallen into the limbo of collective ignorance.” While Christian holidays such as Christmas … [Read more...]

Report: Turkey prepares to join EU in a building confiscated from the Orthodox

But first a word from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: "With Turkey anchored to Europe, we can anchor the world and extend peace and love and justice East and South. " Nat da Polis on AsiaNews.it: The new headquarters of the Secretariat for entry into the European Union is an old school of the minority Orthodox in Ortakoy, seized in '90. Embarrassment of Erdogan government and Europe. Istanbul -- Unbelievable but true: the headquarters of the Secretariat for the entry of Turkey into the European Union is a building confiscated from the Orthodox Christian community in the 90s. The building is located in Istanbul, in the well-known area of Ortakoy, under the first bridge over the Bosphorus. Before the seizure, the building was used as a primary school for children of the minority Orthodox in Ortakoy. Here, once lived a thriving Orthodox community, now non-existent because of past purges against minorities, executed by the "secular" Turkish State. Thanks to the policy … [Read more...]

Erdogan and the Christians

Vatican analyst Sandro Magister takes a closer look at the recent meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. "But like other conciliatory gestures in the past, this one also risks producing no results," notes the introduction on Chiesa online. Magister examines Pope Benedict XVI's reservations about the entry of Turkey into the European Union and "the caution" of Vatican diplomacy. Erdogan and the Christians. Few Promises, Zero Action by Sandro Magister ROME, August 27, 2009 – Samuel Huntington called Turkey "Janus-faced," you never know if it's a friend or enemy of the West. The same thought must have come to mind for Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, when last August 15 he welcomed Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a visit to the orphanage and monastery of Saint George Koudounas on the Princes' Islands in the Marmara Sea. It was the first time that a Turkish prime minister had … [Read more...]

Report: Turkey to reopen Halki Seminary

Turkish newspapers say a deal is in the works. Will there be reciprocity from Greece? When President Obama was in Turkey, there were reports that "the recognition by Greek authorities of muftis in Thrace and financial support for Muslim schools might prompt a Turkish rethink on the Halki school." Here is the story from Hurriyet, the Turkish newspaper: ANKARA - The Halki seminary on the island of Heybeliada is to be reopened, Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said, adding that they are searching for a formula to integrate the Orthodox theological school into Turkey’s university system. "Although we have not finalized a decision in the Cabinet, my personal impression is that we are going to open the seminary," said Günay, speaking on Kanal 24 television over the weekend. Recalling that the functioning of the Halki seminary is not compatible with the Turkish university system, Günay maintained that work is underway to find a formula for its status. He explained that the question … [Read more...]