August 23, 2014

Battle looming over icons and prayers in Greek schools

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MbEL-C7ypU[/youtube] The head of the Greek Orthodox Church has warned the country's new socialist government that it faces a major battle over removing religious symbols from schools. The European Court in Strasbourg has ordered Italy to take down crucifixes from its classrooms, and Greece's Justice Minister has acknowledged that it may have to follow suit. From Lamia in Central Greece, Malcolm Brabant reports. "This is a major battle of faith, which is just beginning," he says. From Moscow, December 21 (RIA Novosti): Europe's future unthinkable without Christianity - Patriarch Kirill The future of the European continent is impossible without taking into account its Christian heritage, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said Monday. "People who attached great significance to European cultural and religious identity as an important element of pan-European wellbeing were among the EU originators," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow … [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...]

Turkish journalist: ‘We are crucifying the patriarch’

By Mehmet Ali Birand in Hurriyet (Monday, December 21, 2009): It might be true, we are crucifying the patriarch I don’t agree with Foreign Minister Davutoğlu. The patriarch is right. The state, with its ignorance of a Turkish institution for 38 years, has not been able to keep its word and has crucified the patriarch. No offense, but the culture and custom of crucifying exists in our state. It did not only apply it to the Patriarchate but also to its citizens and institutions, and it continues to do so. For those who don’t know, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew is a leader who is followed by millions of Orthodox people from all over the world and one who holds the international status of a patriarch in the heart of a Muslim country. And we, who are supposed to be proud of this, underestimate it by calling him a patriarch based in Istanbul’s Fener neighborhood. As if we are asked or allowed to make a decision. Even if we don’t accept his ecumenical presence, … [Read more...]

Editorial: Who will pay the taxes?

From the National Herald: Judging from the massive, angry reaction of our readers so far, it is obvious that we have hit a nerve with our editorial in last week’s edition entitled “Give Us Your Property”, rejecting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s demand for “at least” a building from each one of our nine metropolises, in order, supposedly, to save the Patriarchate from the Turks. A prominent member of the community - who asked us to withhold his name - went so far as to cite this demand as the justification for taking the first steps towards launching an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church in America. While we fully understand his reaction, we do not see this as necessary. As we stated in this space last week: “We wish there was a nicer way to say it, but this demand by Patriarch Bartholomew has crossed the line. It is so unacceptable and offensive, but also so revealing of his designs on our Church and its assets, that it raises many questions about his relationship … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on CBS 60 Minutes: Text and video

Watch CBS News Videos Online Also see video "extras" on CBS site. Transcript from CBS via National Herald: Text of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's interview on CBS's '60 Minutes' (CBS) Would it surprise you to learn that one of the world's most important Christian leaders, second only to the pope, lives in a country where 99 percent of the population is Muslim? His name is Bartholomew, and he is the patriarch of 300 million Orthodox Christians. He lives in Istanbul, Turkey, the latest in a line of patriarchs who have resided there since before there was a Turkey, since the centuries following the death of Jesus Christ. That's when Istanbul was called Constantinople and was the most important city in the Christian world. But times change, and in modern Muslim Turkey the patriarch doesn't feel very welcome. Turkish authorities have seized Christian properties and closed Christian churches, monasteries and schools. His parishioners are afraid that the authorities want to … [Read more...]

In Memoriam: His Eminence Archbishop Job, Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest

Archbishop Job

Posted 12/18 SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- On Friday, December 18, 2009, His Eminence, Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest unexpectedly fell asleep in the Lord. His Eminence, Archbishop Job was born Richard John Osacky in Chicago on March 18, 1946. He completed university studies at Northern Illinois University and, after graduating from Saint Tikhon Seminary, South Canaan, PA, in 1970, he served as cantor and youth director at Saint John the Baptist Church in Black Lick, Pennsylvania. He assumed responsibilities in leading Divine Services in the prescribed manner for readers, conducting religious education and youth work, and painting icons. It was his extraordinary affinity with Orthodox youth that gained him the recognition of the Church at large. In 1973 Reader John was ordained to the holy diaconate and consequently to the holy priesthood by Bishop Theodosius of Pittsburgh [later Metropolitan Theodosius of All American and Canada]. He was assigned to the … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘I feel crucified’

Watch CBS News Videos Online (CBS) -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the 300 million-member Orthodox Christian Church, feels "crucified" living in Turkey under a government he says would like to see his nearly 2,000-year-old Patriarchate die out. His All Holiness speaks to 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon for a story to be broadcast this Sunday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Orthodox Christians trace their roots to the earliest days of Christianity but do not answer to papal authority in Rome. Bartholomew is, in effect, their pope. The Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey, dates back to Roman times, when the city, then Constantinople, was the center of Christianity. Since then, history has seen the Patriarch and the part of his church in Turkey - who are Turkish citizens of Greek ancestry - discriminated against in their traditional homeland inside what has become modern Turkey, where 99 percent of the people are Muslim. One and a half million were expelled … [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...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on 60 Minutes

The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle announced today that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew "will be featured on the CBS News program 60 Minutes reported by Bob Simon, scheduled to air on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 7 p.m. EST. The segment will focus on the Orthodox Church, the most ancient Christian church, and its development from its earliest years to modern times in what is now the Republic of Turkey." Commenting on the upcoming broadcast, Archbishop Demetrios of America said: "The appearance of the Ecumenical Patriarch on a program such as 60 Minutes is an extraordinary opportunity for the American public to become aware of our Orthodox Christian Faith. Millions of people who would otherwise have limited knowledge of the Orthodox Church will have the chance to see and hear the highest ecclesiastical personage of our Church in their living rooms. It is also a tremendous opportunity for our own Orthodox Faithful in the United States to see His All Holiness in a way that will … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion’s interview with Der Spiegel

Source: Moscow Patriarchate Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, answered questions from Der Spiegel magazine. Below is the text of the talk His Eminence Hilarion had with the magazine’s correspondents. The interview was published in Der Spiegel’s issue No. 51, 2009. (This transcript is the source of the Interfax article -- please see preceding post -- on comments regarding a Moscow-Rome meeting. --Ed.). Der Spiegel: How would you explain the difference between the Orthodox, the Catholic and the Protestant Churches? Archbishop Hilarion: The Orthodox and the Catholic Churches have only some differences in theology and models of church order. Thus, we do not recognize the supreme authority of the Pope of Rome over other Churches. However, the differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism are not fundamental. We recognize the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. If a Catholic priest moves over to … [Read more...]

Moscow thanks Pope for not pressing on meeting

From Interfax (2009-12-16): Moscow -- The Moscow Patriarchate is grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for understanding problems between the two Churches and not pressing on with visiting Russia and meeting with the Patriarch. "Pope Benedict XVI perfectly understands the existing difficulties and therefore is not pressing on his meeting with the Patriarch, not to mention visiting Russia, as was done under his predecessor. We are grateful to him for this," the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview published in Der Spiegel, whose Russian translation the Department for External Church Relations has published on its website. The Russian Orthodox Church does not rule out the possibility of a meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Pope, but believes that it should be preceded by the resolution of the problems between them rather than be turned into "just a protocol meeting and … [Read more...]

Moscow clarifies its position on Orthodoxy in America

Source: Yahoo! Groups [From the December 2009 Orthodox Christian Laity newsletter, vol. 5, Number 2] The following letter translated from the Russian dated November 13, 2009 was received at the OCL Office via fax November 16. It is addressed to former OCL President Peter Petkas. It is from the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod, Department for External Church Relations, Danilov Monastery. The letter relates to the recently published "Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad A Great Council of the Church - When and Why" Dear Mr. Petkas, On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, I would like to thank you for the series of essay[s] devoted to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church, since the 1961 Rhodes Meeting has been a permanent participant in the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conferences. The latest, 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference was devoted to the diaspora, and the … [Read more...]