April 23, 2014

Church that Held the 7th Ecumenical Council at Nicea to be Turned into Mosque

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Source: Vatican Insider Hagia Sophia in Nicea, where the Seventh Ecumenical Council was held in 787, is about to be declared a mosque by the Turkish authorities. As the Turkish press reports, the call to prayer was sung from the Muezzin last Thursday, for the first time since the founding of the Turkish Republish in 1923. The minaret was added to the church in the city that the Turks called “Iznik” in the Ottoman age. Last year it was restored. With the prayer to be said at the beginning of the Islamic feast of sacrifice on Sunday morning, the former church will be ready for Islamic religious ceremonies. The decision by the office of the Administrative Council, the competent authority, has sparked fierce debate. Selcuk Mülayim, of the University of Marmara, an art historian, underlined the building's importance in the history of Christianity and warned that the move would mark the beginning of protests from all over the world. Iznik's chamber of commerce criticized the … [Read more...]

Where Heaven Falls Prey to Thieves: The Plundering of Turkish Occupied Cyprus [VIDEO]

Area north of the Green Line is occupied

Source: Vimeo A short documentary about the extensive art theft that has taken place in North Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The theft has taken place with tacit or active approval from the Turkish army. The plunder not only served as a source of income for criminals in North Cyprus and shady antiquity dealers, it was also an act to eradicate the memory of Cyprus as a Christian country for almost two millenia. What has happened in the Turkish occupied zone constitutes pillaging of world cultural heritage and is a war crime according to several international conventions. … [Read more...]

‘Erdoğan saved future of Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

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Source: Today's Zaman The spokesperson of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Father Dositheos Anağnostopulos, has said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saved the future of the patriarchate by offering Turkish citizenship to a number of archbishops in 2009. In an interview with the Star daily, Anağnos-topulos said there were 12 archbishops on the patriarchate's Spiritual Board at the time. “Most of [those archbishops] are very old. In order to become a member of this board, one has to be a Turkish citizen. If the patriarch dies one day, it seemed unlikely that a new patriarch would be elected from the board [due to the members' age]. This danger has now passed. The prime minister attended a luncheon on Büyükada in August 2009 … and said the problem with the Spiritual Board will be overcome if archbishops applied to become Turkish citizens. He assured us that applicants would be granted citizenship,” the spokesperson stated. Anağnostopulos defined the … [Read more...]

Patsourakos: Turkey Must End Its Control of Northern Cyprus

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George Patsourakos, commentator on the AOI blog and editor of the Theology and Society blog, argues Turkey must end its occupation of Cyprus. Source: Theology and Society For the first time since Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus in 1974, it was revealed by a former Turkish general this week that Turks secretly and intentionally burned down at least one mosque on the island at that time, in order to encourage Turks to be more aggressive in fighting Greeks.Retired Turkish General Sabri Yirmibesoglu -- speaking in an interview about military strategy on Turkey's Haberturk TV channel -- admitted that Turks burned (at least) a mosque to increase animosity toward Greeks in Cyprus. The retired general added that for Turkey it was "a rule of war to engage in acts of sabotage made to look as if they were carried out by the enemy." … [Read more...]

Michael Rubin: Turkey on the Brink

Recently, American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin addressed a luncheon on Capitol Hill and gave a master class on the devolution of the once-secular state of Turkey into the swamp of Islamism with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party. … [Read more...]

The Times, They Are a-Changing

Victor Davis Hanson's brief synopsis below also affects Constantinople and may help explain why it is so anxious to direct the American Church. The Corner At the present rate, Turkey has about as much business in NATO as Greece does in the EU. Both countries seem out of place in their respective organizations; both envy and resent northern Europe and the United States, and seek their attention through petulance; and both seem to traffic daily in conspiracy theories about going to war against each other. The problem with both the EU and NATO is that, while there is always much gala celebration about who gets in and under what particular conditions, there is almost no attention given to the circumstances under which a member gets out of either organization. That will change in the next few years, given southern European debt, growing Islamization, and the apparent planned financial and military regression of the West. In the meantime, we should pay attention to a growing … [Read more...]

Have GOA Metropolitans become citizens of Turkey?

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In a freewheeling interview with Hurriyet ("Turkey's English Daily") Pat. Bartholomew said (note last sentence): Bartholomew drew particular attention to the seminary problem. “Our generation is gradually becoming extinct, and I have concerns for the future. Where will our ecclesiastics get their education? Moreover, it would be proper to have a Halki Seminary graduate at the top of the Patriarchate. Our ecclesiastics who studied at Halki Seminary and are currently serving abroad are all Turkish-loving people.” Once Turkey’s principal facility for the training of Greek Orthodox clerics, the school was shuttered in 1971 in a ruling that curtailed most private higher education in Turkey. The ban has long been decried by both members of the local Greek community as well as the United States and the European Union. Noting that the Turkish government has taken a significant step and granted the right for Fener Greek Patriarchate affiliated metropolitans serving in several countries … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘Patriarchate is dying’

’We cannot breathe, the Patriarchate is dying,’ says patriarch ASLI AYDINTAŞBAŞ ISTANBUL - Milliyet Thursday, December 24, 2009 Following criticism of his controversial statement to a U.S. television network describing his community’s problems, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says his comments were emphasized, but the serious problem of opening Halki seminary needs to be addressed. Criticized for telling U.S. network CBS that he felt “crucified in Turkey,” in an interview he told daily Milliyet, “We are without oxygen, the Patriarchate is dying.” He said the interview with CBS was not planned and that the media had emphasized the crucifixion quote. He said this was a metaphor for detailing Greeks’ problems in Turkey, highlighted by the issue of the Halki seminary located on Heybeliada, one of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands in Marmara Sea. “What will we do, if we cannot raise men of the cloth? Our metropolitan bishops in Europe are over 70 years old. The ones here are … [Read more...]

Report: Phanar backtracks on crucifixion remark

From Today's Zaman (Dec. 24). No statement yet on the Patriarchate's site. The patriarchate’s statement said: “There are similar idioms in all languages, and they are not evaluated in their narrow meanings but in their broad sense in that language. While answering questions in that regard, the patriarch obviously did not intend to imply any pressure from our government.” The statement also said that there was a need to make a public announcement about the issue because the patriarch’s words were interpreted in a way that goes beyond their meaning. Turkish government officials continue to denounce the patriarch for his crucifixion remark: In İzmir, speaking at a conference organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç called the patriarch’s criticism “unacceptable,” while reiterating that Turkey doesn’t consider the patriarchate to be ecumenical in line with the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which governs the status of the … [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...]