August 1, 2014

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...]

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...]

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...]

Patriarchate Asks for Title to U.S. Church Property

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wants legal title to properties around the world, but how would this, as the author below argues, secure the legal position of the the Patriarchate vis-a-vis the Turkish government? Further, with the request for metropolitans worldwide to apply for Turkish citizenship, the Ecumenical Patriarch seems to be distancing the Patriarchate from the other Orthodox churches given that the invitation was only extended to Greek metropolitans. The National Herald, December 11, 2009, By Theodore Kalmoukos, The National Herald Staff Writer BOSTON - The Ecumenical Patriarchate – in an official letter recently sent to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its local Metropolises - requested the official transfer of the ownership of at least one real estate property belonging to each metropolis to the Patriarchate. Archbishop Demetrios of America and the metropolitans have yet to notify the parishes of the Archdiocese of the request of the Ecumenical … [Read more...]

Report: 20 Orthodox bishops apply for Turkish citizenship

Writing for AsiaNews.it, Nat da Polis in Istanbul reveals "very important" news: At the suggestion of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, there is the possibility of granting citizenship to the metropolitans of the Turkish Diaspora. This fact satisfies the ecumenical will of Bartholomew and unlocks the door to the possibility that in future a bishop who now resides outside of Turkey may be elected Ecumenical Patriarch. According to current rules, only those who have Turkish citizenship have the right to be elected to the patriarchal throne. Until now 20 metropolitans of the Diaspora have already applied for Turkish citizenship. In the eventual granting of Turkish citizenship to metropolitans of the Diaspora diplomatic circles see the first proof of the sincere will of the Erdogan government to be open to minorities. In fact, it must also be remembered that in mid-December the European Union will examine progress made by Ankara in its march towards Europe. da Polis actually filed … [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...]

Turkey and the minaret ban (Updated 12-02-09)

Not quite related but powerful nonetheless because of the artistic beauty of the music and architectural beauty of the Swiss village set in the stunning natural beauty of the Swiss Alps, this short video reveals two expressions of human creativity that will disappear if the light of Christianity that nurtured them is extinguished. Switzerland Update: To support its position, the SVP cites a famous remark by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who once implied that the construction of mosques and minarets is part of a strategy for the Islamization of Europe. The pro-Islamic Erdogan said: “The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.” Armen Hareyan writing on Huliq News: The Swiss Minaret ban has drawn many critical voices from around the world. The majority of Muslims in Switzerland are from Turkey and some from the Balkans. Turkey feels the minaret decision pain as number of Christian churches … [Read more...]

Report: ‘Serious violations’ of human rights in Turkey

un_logo

Here's an introductory clip from Forum 18's "TURKEY: Religious freedom survey, November 2009": Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council May 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Turkey, Forum 18 News Service has found that the country continues to see serious violations of international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief. A long-standing crucially important issue, with many implications, is that Turkey has not legally recognised religious communities in their own right as independent communities with full legal status - such as the right to own places of worship and the legal protection religious communities normally have in states under the rule of law. Additionally, the most dangerous threat to individuals exercising freedom of religion or belief has been a series of violent attacks and murders on those perceived as threats; in recent years the victims have been Christians. Here's a hypothetical: What if American bishops in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese applied … [Read more...]

Editorial: Turkey’s ‘Mildly’ Islamist Government

From today's Washington Post. Turkish journalists say that a pall of fear has fallen across their business. Editors practice self-censorship. Many journalists are believed to be among the more than 100,000 people whose phones have been tapped by the government in recent years. Some, including the chief executive of Dogan Yayin, have been swept up in a murky investigation of alleged coup plotting. Mr. Erdogan and his party were once seen by many in Washington as a model for how pious Muslims could practice democratic politics. That image is rapidly darkening. If it is not to be extinguished, Mr. Erdogan must stop coddling Muslim dictators -- and stop following their practice of silencing domestic opposition. Here's an idea: Why not have Greek Orthodox bishops in the United States become Turkish citizens? Read Slipping in Turkey on the Web site of the Washington Post. … [Read more...]