April 19, 2014

Freedom of religion devolves to an “anorexic freedom of worship”

Chuck Colson sounds the alarm about a shift in US policy first noticed by The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its 2010 annual report. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton replaced the term "freedom of religion" with "freedom of worship" in a December, 2009 speech at Georgetown University. President Obama first used "freedom of worship" while remarking on the Ft. Hood shooting in November, 2009 and repeated it on trips to China and Japan (source: Christianity Today). Is it deliberate? Of course it is. Public language by diplomats, particularly when repeated, signals a shift in policy; either that or incompetence in the White House (also a possibility but never with religion or homosexuality which the administration approaches with unmatched earnestness). Colson's warning is sound and bears consideration. The George Weigel article Colson references in his talk is reproduced below the video. Ethics and Public Policy Center The Erosion of Religious … [Read more...]

Russia helps Kosovo Orthodox Church

General view of the Orthodox Monastery in Gracanica, Kosovo, 08 April 2010. The Gracanica monastery has been placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List under the name of Medieval Monuments in Kosovo, on 13 July 2006. Photo: EPA

HT: Orthodox News | Source: The Voice of Russia Under a document signed by Vladimir Putin, Russia will allocate 2 million dollars to reconstruct Orthodox monuments in Kosovo. The Prime Minister ordered to finance this work as a voluntary fee for the UNESCO for 2010 and 2011 allocated from the federal budget. Here are more details from Grigory Ordzhonikidze, the secretary-general of National Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO. … [Read more...]

Papal Environmentalism: Pro-Life and Pro-Marriage

ethics-public-policy-center

Ethics and Public Policy Center | George Weigel In his January 11 address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI continued to carve out an interesting Catholic position on ecology. The Pope insists that care for creation is a moral obligation that falls on both individuals and governments. His very invocation of "creation," however, challenges the secular shibboleths that underwrite a lot of contemporary environmental activism. Here is the money paragraph in the papal address to the diplomats assembled in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace: "Twenty years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the materialistic and atheistic regimes which had for several decades dominated a part of this continent, it was easy to assess the great harm which an economic system lacking any reference to the truth about man had done not only to the dignity and freedom of individuals and peoples, but to nature itself, by polluting soil, water, and air. … [Read more...]

Fr. Chad Hatfield: The Manhattan Declaration

Voices from St. Vladimir's

Ancient Faith Radio Fr. Chad Hatfield, discusses The Manhattan Declaration, "a call of Christian conscience" that he helped produce, and defends Orthodox participation in such cultural manifestos. Listen here: … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill & Pope Benedict: A Tale of Two Leaders for a new Missionary Age

Pat. Kyrill and Pope Benedict

I've been asked to become an Orthodox columnist on Catholic.org and accepted. Below is my first essay. Regular readers will notice ideas we discussed on the AOI Observer. +++++++++++++++++ Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) NAPLES, FL. (Catholic Online) - Over four decades ago Pope John Paul II said that the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church was necessary for the cultural restoration of Western Europe. At the time his words seemed audacious. Russia was still under the Communist yoke, the winds in Poland were just starting to blow, and the Berlin wall loomed invincible. Culture watchers dismissed the statement as the wistful longing of a faithful man. Yet John Paul, with his gift of seeing through the clutter of immediate events into the deeper and far-reaching ways of God, knew better. He believed that the fall of Communism would unleash a transformation that could only come from those who suffered. His words are proving true. The Orthodox Church in Russia, … [Read more...]

Pope Shenouda calls for freedom of worship

H/T: St. Andrew House Discussion Forum "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Rev. 6:10 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Rev. 7:17 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Cleveland, Ohio, USA calls on all Coptic Orthodox Churches, sister churches, ecumenical friends and people of goodwill to designate Sunday, February 14, 2010 as a Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Coptic Martyrs of Nag Hammadi. This is the closest Sunday to the traditional 40 day memorial following the brutal and tragic murders of the six young men who were killed leaving their church on Christmas Eve. Addressing his flock at his weekly meeting at the Grand Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo this week, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark told the people of Nag Hammadi and the world that the … [Read more...]

Bare Ruined Choirs

Soon after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the roof of St. Andronikos church in Kythrea caved in and fell into its sanctuary. No one came by to clear the rubble, so there's a heap of ruins on the ground covered with tangled greenery. From where I stand, on top of that heap, I can see that the walls, once known for their frescoes, have been stripped white and are now marked with black and neon graffiti. In some places there remain a few painted figures, including ones of Saints Peter and Paul, but their faces are chiseled out and their bodies have been pockmarked by bullets. Cars roll by every so often, but the one persistent sound is the hum of bees coming from a smashed clerestory window. I came across this church off a road near the Agios Dimitrios crossing point on the Green Line, the boundary running through the island of Cyprus and keeping it cloven in two radically disparate parts: the free, government-controlled area of Cyprus, and the upper third of the sovereign … [Read more...]

Church has right to bring Gospel values to public debate, pope says

Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholic teaching and the truths of the Gospel have a right to be heard in public debate, especially in a country where so many people claim to be Christian, Pope Benedict XVI told the bishops of England and Wales. However, the church must recognize dissent within its own ranks and not accept it as being part of a balanced discussion, he said Feb. 1 in an address to bishops who were making their "ad limina" visits. The meeting with the bishops, who were at the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses, took place as Pope Benedict prepares to visit Great Britain in September. Referring to the Equality Bill under debate in Britain's Parliament, the pope said some legislation designed to guarantee equal opportunity for all people actually would impose "unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs." Catholic bishops have said the bill means churches could be sued by … [Read more...]

Coptic march Melbourne – What you didn’t see

Church in Nag Hammadi

H/T Free Copts Gates of Vienna also asks "Where is Freedom of Religion?" … [Read more...]

James J. Jatras on the Manhattan Declaration

James J. Jatras, advisor to AOI, explains why he signed the Manhattan Declaration. For more video go to Peter and Helen Evans website. … [Read more...]

Robert P. George: Why I signed the Manhattan Declaration

Peter and Helen Evans are posting interviews with signers of the Manhattan Declaration. The latest is Robert P. George. They have around 20 interviews including some Orthodox signers on their site www.peterandhelenevans.com. … [Read more...]

A Plea from a Christian Copt

HT: Onet Blog By: A Coptic Christian The recent killings in Nag Hammadi have cast a dark shadow over a time that for Copts (Christian of Egypt) all over the world should be very joyous. We find ourselves unable to enjoy the glory of the Lord’s birth while our brethren in Egypt are mourning the loss of their young sons. While many of you may see this as just an unfortunate event, I see it as much more. During the past 1,358 years, the Christian of Egypt have been attacked, persecuted, scorned, enslaved, and all but annihilated by the Arab Muslim majority. The attacks in modern times have been the worst during the last ten years, starting with the attack on a church in the Egyptian village of El-Kosheh (recently renamed “City of Peace”) which killed 23 young men and women who were attending a meeting and wounding countless others. The suspects in this shooting were all indicted, but the Copts were the ones sentenced for “stirring up violence”. … [Read more...]