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 … [Read more...]

Robert P. George on the Manhattan Declaration

Princeton professor Robert P. George, one of the drafters of the Manhattan Declaration, is interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online. LOPEZ: Why just Christians? GEORGE: For too long, the historic traditions of Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy have failed to speak formally with a united voice, despite their deep agreement on fundamental … [Read more...]

Orthodox Priest launches “The Orthodox Leader” website

In a move sure to make some uncomfortable, strike fear in the hearts of others, and raise the ire of many, Fr. Basil Biberdorf, a married priest in the Orthodox Church in America, launched "The Orthodox Leader." Fr. Basil writes: We have a problem in Orthodox North America. Worse than matters of theft and malfeasance, we have sexual sin among some of the clergy – fornication, adultery, … [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 … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew greets Vatican delegation at the Phanar

From the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle: Istanbul, Turkey 11/30/2009 His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed a Vatican delegation representing Pope Benedict XVI at the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on November 30, 2009. The delegation, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper also delivered greetings to His All Holiness on behalf of Pope Benedict. The Ecumenical … [Read more...]

Benedict to Bartholomew: Unity through truth and charity, not power

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received a message today from Pope Benedict XVI at the Phanar on the occasion of the Feastday of St. Andrew the Apostle. The pope's message was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George. From Following an old … [Read more...]

Report: Egyptian State Security Accused of Cover-up in Muslim Riots

From the Assyrian International News Agency. (HT: The Volokh Conspiracy): Cairo (AINA) -- In an effort to cover up the Muslim mob violence against the Copts which broke out last week in the town of Farshoot and neighboring villages (AINA 11-22-2009, 11-23-2009), and in view of the complete news blackout imposed by the Egyptian government, Egyptian State Security has intensified its pressure … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill calls for powerful reply to train bomb

From Reuters: A blast derailed a high-speed Russian train Friday night on the main line between Moscow and Russia's second city, St Petersburg, raising fears of a new wave of attacks five years after a bombing campaign in Moscow by Chechen rebels. "We believe the reply will be effective and powerful enough to show these shameful, terrible people that ... when the hand of an enemy is lifted … [Read more...]

Report: ‘Serious violations’ of human rights in Turkey

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 … [Read more...]

Christian Hellenism — The Foundation of Western Culture

From the chapter on “Liturgy and Theology and Byzantine Culture” in The Formation of Christendom by Christopher Dawson (Sheed & Ward, 1967): The essential achievement of the patristic age was the synthesis of Eastern religion and Western culture, or, to be more precise, the uniting of the spiritual traditions of Hellenism and the political and social traditions of Rome. This synthesis has … [Read more...]

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

A blessed Thanksgiving to Observer readers. [New York, 3 October 1789] By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee … [Read more...]

Bishop Thomas on the Manhattan Declaration

Thomas, Bishop of Charleston/Oakland and Assistant to Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, posted an informational item on the Manhattan Declaration and included links to educational resources on the sanctity of life and marriage. Bishop Thomas encouraged his flock to share his message with parishioners in the diocese. Key paragraphs: 1. With regard to … [Read more...]