April 16, 2014

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM2qq5J5A1s[/youtube] Twenty years ago today. The following is from "The Origin of Russian Communism" by Nicholas Berdyaev (published by Geoffrey Bles, 1937): Marxism is not only a doctrine of historical and economic materialism, concerned with the complete dependence of man on economics, it is also a doctrine of deliverance, of the messianic vocation of the proletariat, of the future perfect society in which man will not be dependent on economics, of the power and victory of man over the irrational forces of nature and society. There is the soul of Marxism, not in its economic determinism. In a capitalist society man is completely determined, and that refers to the past. The complete dependence of man upon economics can be explained as a sin of the past. But the future is otherwise; man can be freed from slavery. And the active agent which frees humanity from slavery and establishes the best life, is the proletariat. To it are … [Read more...]

Russian monasticism and the legacy of Communism

The Zenit news service interviews Fr. Peter Mescerinov, vice-director of the Center for the Spiritual Formation of Children and Adolescents of the Moscow Patriarchate, about the "new and enduring challenges of Russian monasticism." ZENIT: What is the reality of these [monastic] communities today? Father Mescerinov: The principal tragedy of our ecclesial life today is the absolute lack of community. There are communities that are born in contrast to the position of the Church in a general sense; however, there are no communities as such as a norm of community life. This is linked no doubt to the Soviet legacy, because in that period every aggregation was regarded with suspicion and in danger of being repressed; in fact, an anti-solidarity instinct has been created in the very conscience of many generations of persons. When people enter the Church today, educated according to this mentality, it is very difficult [for them] to feel and even to understand that it is a … [Read more...]

Roundup of Green Patriarch videos: Biden, Reid and Coca-Cola

Welcome Remarks at the Nov. 4 Vice President Dinner. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmZT6PiZsSA[/youtube] … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Hill

At the Joint House and Senate Luncheon in his Honor Hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Remarks and Toast of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew The Rayburn Room The Capitol Direct Archdiocesan District Washington, DC November 4, 2009 --------- Madame Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and brother Hierarchs, Honored guests and friends, beloved spiritual children in the Lord, Standing again in this Capitol – this people’s house of democracy and freedom – whose dome rises above every other building in this capital city of the American Nation, our mind travels back in time to twelve years ago, when both we and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople were honored by this august body with the Congressional Gold Medal. At that time, we made a commitment and a pledge to you, the elected representatives of the great American people. We promised you that "in the spirit of … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the White House

From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Nov. 4, 2009): President Obama receives Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the Oval Office WASHINGTON – His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was received today at the White House in the Oval Office by President Barack Obama. This reciprocal visit to the one paid by President Obama earlier this year (April 7, when he made his first overseas visit to a Muslim country, Turkey) followed up on their conversations at that time on the subjects of the recently concluded environmental symposium on the Mississippi River and the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki. “The President with his kindness and openness received me and my delegation with love and honor,” said His All Holiness to the Press as he was exiting the White House. … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘God Bless America’

Bravo! On Oct. 31, the Patriarch closes his speech at the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle Annual Banquet at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel with these words: Our Orthodox Christian faith has lived and thrived in this nation for generations, from the first Greeks who came to New Smyrna in the 18th Century, to the first Orthodox parish in America in New Orleans, which was founded in 1863, and flourishes to this day and which we have just visited for the second time. America is a land and, indeed, an idea that offers to every soul the freedom to express one's own religious conviction. and this is surely the most basic of inalienable human rights. We are profoundly grateful for the blessings that have been afforded all Orthodox Christians in this great country. And for this we say, may God bless the Orthodox Christians in this United States and may God bless America. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMvDVIdesXk[/youtube] … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Turkish relations improving

Greek Reporter's Anastasios Papapostolou interviews Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I about improving relations with the Turkish government and his upcoming environmental symposium in the United States next month. Greek Reporter: It is a great honor for us to meet you. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Your visit gives me joy and I am glad we are meeting today. I would like to take a moment to send my regards to all the readers of Greek Reporter and all the members of Greek diaspora. GR: You have planned a visit to the US. Please tell us about your upcoming mission. EP: I will be in the US the last days of October and I will stay until November 10th. I will first visit Mississippi where we will participate at the 8th International Inter-religious Ecological Symposium. This conference was started by the Patriarchate in 1995 and first convened on an island in the Aegean Sea. Subsequent locations included meetings near the Black Sea, Danube River, Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, … [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...]

Spengler: The Closing of the Christian Womb

The columnist for Asia Times addresses the decline of Arab Christianity and the causes of the "extreme rancor" that Arab Christians often express towards the Jewish State. "One of the big lies in the Middle East is that Israel somehow is responsible for the problems of Arab Christians," Spengler writes. He also looks at a "prejudicial document" circulated by the most prominent Arab Christian in Pope Bendict's circle. A century ago, Christians dominated the intellectual and commercial life of the Levant, comprising more than one-fifth of the 13 million people of Turkey, the region's ruling power, and most of the population of Lebanon. Ancient communities flourished in what is now Iraq and Syria. But starting with the Armenian genocide in 1914 and continuing through the massacre and expulsion of Anatolian Greeks in 1922-1923, the Turks killed three to four million Christians in Turkey and the Ottoman provinces. Thus began a century of Muslim violence that nearly has eradicated … [Read more...]

Halki: ‘Same old story’

Nat da Polis, in a new report in AsiaNews, quotes a "senior lecturer" from the "almost non existent Orthodox community" in Istanbul on the Halki Seminary question. The lecturer, a Greek, expects little movement from Turkish authorities toward reopening the seminary. “In short it’s the same old story," says the lecturer. Full report follows: Despite Europe's request, Ankara continues to waver on Religious Freedom By NAT da Polis The head of EU enlargement has said that the accession process of Turkey also depends on the Halki school, an institution for the formation of the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, closed since 1971. The government remains silent, while the debate grows in the media. The real issue is the recognition of the status of the Patriarchate. Istanbul -- Rumours abound in Turkish press over the imminent reopening of the Halki Theological School, for the formation of theologians and the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, closed suddenly in 1971, … [Read more...]

‘Istanbul is anxious’

Lots of press attention being paid to the possible reopening of the Halki Seminary in the wake of Patriarch Kirill's visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. (The patriarch is now back in Moscow where he met with President Obama.) In his analysis of the Bartholomew-Kirill meeting for Today's Zaman, Ali Murat Yel argues for a reopening of the seminary (known to Turks as Heybeliada) if the Turkish state "wishes to be counted among the civilized and democratic countries in the world." The writer also said that "Istanbul is anxious about the revival and renaissance of the Russian Church, as its weight and power might lead it to claim the overarching leadership of the Orthodox Church in the near future. The claim would not be groundless because the Patriarchate of Moscow has some 95 million followers, which constitute more than one third of the 250 million Orthodox worldwide." Then there's the problem of where to find Turkish clergy for the Ecumenical Patriarchate: The closure of the … [Read more...]

Interview: A Mission in the World

The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate distributed "A Mission in the World," an interview of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk by Expert Magazine (Issue No. 23 (661) June 15, 2009). Expert Magazine Your Eminence, one hundred days have passed since the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. What has changed in church-society relations since? Have any new tendencies emerged? Archbishop Hilarion The man who ascended to the throne of the Moscow Patriarchate is one who has been known for many years for his focus on mission and his capacity to shed light on matters. He has long been in active co-operation with all parts of the society, hosting a TV programme of his own and making regular appearances in the print media. Even before he was elected Patriarch, he was known and loved by millions of Russian Orthodox faithful throughout the world. He has gained authority in broad public circles. Metropolitan Kirill accumulated a unique … [Read more...]