August 1, 2014

Patr. Bartholomew to White House meeting?

The Greek newspaper Kathimerini is reporting that President Obama will meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he is in Istanbul on April 7 during a visit to Turkey. "However," the paper said, "the US president is also due to hold a one-on-one meeting with the patriarch in the White House on November 3." The plans were firmed up when Archbishop Demetrios met with the president on March 25 during a White House reception in honor of Greek Independence Day, Kathimerini said. During the public ceremony, the archbishop compared the president to Alexander the Great. While in Washington, he also attended a reception hosted by the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandros Mallias at the Greek Embassy. Minister of Justice Nikolaos Dendias represented the Greek Government at the Independence Day events. Meanwhile, the tug-of-war between, on one side, the Turkish government and, on the other, the U.S. Greek lobby and the Greek government, continues over a proposed meeting … [Read more...]

Greece: No Faith in Ourselves

Writing for the Foreign Policy Research Institute on Dec. 19, Cornelia A. Tsakiridou rightly points to the breakdown of the rule of law as one of the most deplorable outcomes of these riots. Tsakiridou is Associate Professor and Director of the Diplomat-in-Residence Program at La Salle University. The spectacle of young people (and assorted criminals, leftwing extremists, and self-proclaimed anarchists) on a smash-and-burn spree wrapping themselves in the mantle of justice, martyrdom, and victimhood is only rivaled by that of a government incapable of making a clear and effective distinction between political grievance and thuggery, lawlessness and the rule of law. Despite attempts in the national and international press (among them Le Monde and The Guardian) to give a deeper dimension to the Greek riots and to offer a mix of elaborate psychological and sociological explanations, the truth may actually be rather plain. The riots happened because the legal … [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give witness to the ecclesiastical truth in a spirit of humility, peace and unity, then we will be tragic and outdated figures of an atavistic past with an eccentric role in our popular and meaningless religious festivals.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...]

‘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...]

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...]

The Cohabitation Bomb

In the most emphatic fashion, reports the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod yesterday declared its opposition to the government’s bid to give unmarried couples greater rights by stating that any form of relationship other than a couple married in an Orthodox Church is tantamount to “prostitution.” The Synod said that a draft law under consideration constituted a “catastrophic bomb” being placed under the foundations of Greek society. Archbishop Ieronymos II, the new leader of the Church of Greece who arrived with the reputation for being a moderate, was pushing for a moderate position on the issue. But the other 12 members of the Synod would have none of it. “The Church accepts and blesses the established wedding, according to Orthodox traditions, and considers any other type of similar relationship to be prostitution,” the Synod said in a statement. … [Read more...]