July 24, 2014

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...]

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...]

U.S. Ambassador praises Egypt’s Freedom of the Press and Human Rights; Copts say otherwise

A friend sent me this translation of an original article in Arabic here. During her visit to Tanta University Scobey praises Freedom of the Press and Human Rights in Egypt Monday 14th of December 2009 Gharbia: Hend Adel Margaret Scobey, the United States of America’s Ambassador to Egypt affirmed that there is no differentiation between minorities in Egypt and described it as the country of civil coexistence, where there are some cases that reach the level of slight conflict, that Egypt aims to solve before they develop, in light of it enjoying full freedom of the press and Human Rights organizations work there in complete freedom. … [Read more...]

‘Europe, spiritual homeland’

Pope Benedict and Abp. Hilarion

In "For Rome and Moscow, It's Spring Again," Sandro Magister on Chiesa looks at the book, in Italian and Russian, presented to Pope Benedict recently by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk. It is a collection of the main speeches of Benedict, as cardinal and pope, on European culture made over the past ten years. The title of the book is taken from an expression that Benedict used in Prague: "Europa, patria spirituale [Europe, spiritual homeland]." Magister translated the archbishop's introduction (excerpts reprinted below). But listen to his amazement: Those who expect an Orthodox Church removed from time, made up only of remote traditions and archaic liturgies, will come away shaken from reading the introduction to this book. [ ... ] The image that emerges from it is that of a Russian Orthodox Church that refuses to let itself be locked up in a ghetto, but on the contrary hurls itself against the secularist onslaught with all the peaceful weapons at its disposal, not … [Read more...]

Armenians petition Turks for new patriarch

Who wants to be Patriarch?

I post this for the benefit of Greek Orthodox bishops in America who have aspirations to Turkish citizenship. Make sure you don't displease the Pasha. He'll round file your job application. From the Dec. 10 issue of Today's Zaman: Turkey’s Armenian Orthodox community seeks co-patriarch The Armenian Patriarchate in İstanbul is seeking permission to designate a “co-patriarch” in light of the illness of Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, whom they recognize as their community’s spiritual leader until the end of his life. An announcement on the patriarchate’s Web site announced that they have submitted an application to the relevant authorities toward the selection of a co-patriarch. The statement recalled that until the emergence of health problems, Patriarch Mesrob II had served in his position for 11 years and that on Dec. 24, 2008, the patriarchate decided that he would be the community’s spiritual leader until his death. “As is known, Turkey’s Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II is … [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...]

Editorial: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ‘crossed the line’

From the Dec. 11 National Herald (HT: Orthodox Christian Laity): Give us your property!!! The demand - for that is what it is, in essence - by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to our Metropolitans, presented in a letter signed by him, to transfer ownership of at least one building from each one of them to the Patriarchate, is a terrible idea and the request should be withdrawn immediately. If it is not withdrawn, then the metropolitans ought to make it clear to Barthlomew that for the sake of maintaining the unity of the church, and the ties to the Patriarchate, they will refuse to obey or even discuss it with the laity. If there should be a metropolitan who, acting to serve his narrow self interest, tries to pressure the parishioners into transferring a property of their community or the diocese to the Patriarchate, then the people should deny him his request and hold him in low esteem. Because, should this outrageous demand be obeyed, it could lead to the breaking … [Read more...]

Pope Benedict’s message to Albanian Orthodox

Abp. Anastasios

From Zenit: Christ's Saving Message Has Borne Fruit in Your Country VATICAN CITY, DEC. 4, 2009 -- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today upon receiving in audience Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, who is the head of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. * * * Your Beatitude, "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess 1:2). I am pleased to extend a fraternal welcome to Your Beatitude and to the other distinguished representatives of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania accompanying you today. I recall with gratitude, in spite of the sad circumstances, our meeting at the funeral of the late Pope John Paul II. I also remember with satisfaction how my same venerable Predecessor had the occasion to greet you in Tirana during his Apostolic Visit to Albania. As is well known, Illyricum received the Gospel in Apostolic times (cf. Acts 17:1; Rom 15:19). Since then, Christ’s saving message … [Read more...]

Engelhardt on the Manhattan Declaration

H. Tristam Engelhardt

In a new column, published in the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times, Terry Mattingly talks to H. Tristram Engelhardt about the Manhattan Declaration. Englehardt is the author of "The Foundations of Bioethics" (M & M Scrivener Press, 2000). While nothing in the Manhattan Declaration is truly new, arguments about its call for civil disobedience will help draw sharper lines between traditional believers and the powers that be in an increasingly diverse and secular America, said H. Tristram Engelhardt, senior editor of the Christian Bioethics journal at Oxford University. “This document is the product of a political coalition, but it’s not political in the same sense that the tax code is political,” said Engelhardt, who is advising several Eastern Orthodox leaders who are studying the text. “This is political in the sense that these Christians are working together on certain issues that have moral and public implications.” The reality is that its authors believe there are “certain … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘Dark forces’ in Turkey plotted to assassinate minority leaders

By Yasemin Budak and Elif Kaya in the Nov. 26 Today's Zaman (HT: National Herald): Plotters planned to overthrow government by using us, says Bartholomew Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew has said dark forces planned to use minorities to overthrow the government as revealed in the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization accused of attempting to create chaos and undermine the stability of the country in order to trigger a coup d'état. Based in İstanbul, the spiritual leader of the world's approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew was referring to the latest revelations of a devious plan, called the Cage Operation Action Plan, by a group of members of the Naval Forces Command aimed at intimidating the country's non-Muslim population by assassinating some of their prominent figures and in this way undermine the power of the ruling party. Recent incidents in İstanbul's Kurtuluş neighborhood and Adalar district suggest that the alleged plan had … [Read more...]

Reynolds on the Minarets and Fr. Sysoyev

Writing on the Washington Post's On Faith blog, John Mark Reynolds wonders at the umbrage taken against the Swiss for voting a ban on new minarets -- and the silence about the murder of a Russian priest in his church. Father Sysoyev is dead in Moscow, but by all means let us condemn the Swiss voters loudly enough that we cannot hear his blood cry out for justice. If we look into it too hard, it might complicate the European energy picture. Read it all: Real religious oppression in Turkey, not Switzerland Switzerland should not have banned minarets. It was both wrong and stupid, which is something even for government. Condemnations will be loud and are deserved. Meanwhile in November a Russian priest has been martyred in Moscow for the temerity of disagreeing with the Islamic religion or Putin's oligarchy. Few will notice or care. It is sad commentary on the state of Europe and America that a few minarets not built will generate more outrage than a dead priest. … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion responds to U.S. State Dept. report on religious freedom

In late October, the State Department released the 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom, a study annually submitted to Congress. Remarks on the study by Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, are available here. (The country report for Turkey is available here.) The Russian foreign ministry said, on publication of the report, that it was compelled "to reiterate our previous repeated assessments of the U.S. State Department report as a politically engaged, garbled document which intentionally distorts the real situation of religious freedom in Russia and keeps silent about positive developments in this field." Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk issued his own response to the State Department study (full text at the bottom of this post) which amounts to a summary of the Moscow Patriarchate's position on religious freedom in Russia. While much more temperate than the Russian government's response, the archbishop's letter did, … [Read more...]