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A weekly report published by Media Ecclesiastica, Athens, Greece
The Editor: Pan. Drakopoulos

1 September 2005          click for your free subscription


Archbishop conveys condolences to Bush over 'Katrina' destruction

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos conveyed his condolences to the White House over the loss of life and destruction caused by the devastating hurricane "Katrina".

The Church sets up organ donation

Registration for all who wish to become organ donors begins in October at all the Parishes of the Church of Greece.

In a decision taken by the Holy Synod (12/10/1999), declared that organ donation for transplants is a God-loved act of love and sacrifice, provided that this donation is the result of the conscious and free decision of the donor which serves no commericla purpose.

The Archbishop himself and the Synodal Hierarchs are registered in the donor lists of the country.

Archbishop in jail – the only confessor of the faith in modern Europe!

His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan (John) is imprisoned in the prison Idrizovo, near Skopje. The Archbishop John was given before the worldly court by the schismatic organization that calls itself Macedonian Orthodox Church, but which has not been recognized as such, nor does it have a liturgical communion with any of the Orthodox Churches in the world. The Archbishop John, who is recognized and confirmed by all the local Orthodox Churches, was accused by the schismatics for praying on his private property, for participating in the ordination of Orthodox Bishops and for "writing" a theological text, which they found to be offensive on their behalf.

The FYROM judiciary, which has been highlighted as the most corrupted part of the FYROM society, convicted the Archbishop John to a two-and-a-half-years long prison sentence. This specific alliance between the neo-communist state and the schismatic and heretic organization so-called Macedonian Orthodox Church, conducting a sort of an inquisition, convicted the Archbishop John to a strict imprisonment.

The Archbishop John is the only confessor of the faith who, in modern Europe, has been convicted and put in prison because of his religious beliefs.

The H. Synod protests at the imprisonment of the Archbishop of Okhrid (FYROM)

A letter of protest was sent by the Holy Synod (16/8/2005) to the President of FYROM Branco Crvenkovsky following the imprisonment of the Archbishop of Okhrid and Metropolitan of Skopje John. In its letter, the Holy Synod requests the President Crvenkovsky to intervene "in order that His Eminence may be freed from prison as soon as possible". It emphasizes that: "His unfair persecution and imprisonment for remaining faithful to his canonical duties can only be defined as a violation of human rights and religious tolerance".

Similar letters were sent by the Holy Synod to the General Secretary of the U.N. Mr. Kofi Anan, the President of the European Council Mr Manuel Barozo, the Councilor of the European Union for the protection of religious minorities Mr. Jan Figel, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches Rev. Samuel Kobia, and others.

A letter of support was sent also by Archbishop Christodoulos to Patriarch Paul of Serbia.

62 million euro allocated annually by the Church for charity

During his sermon in Athens Archbishop Christodoulos referred to the great charitable work of the Church of Greece.

"An amount which surpasses 62 million euro is allocated annually by the Church of Greece through the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and the Holy Metropolitanates, for its charitable work and activities, in order to support as many of our fellow humans as are in need", stressed His Beatitude, and continued: "The amount which I mentioned does not come from some obligatory taxation of the people, but from the contribution of the flock which loves and trusts the Church".

Archbishop Christodoulos ended by saying: "Naturally, this work of the Church is not promoted by the Mass Media. That is why I felt the need today to make you aware of this significant contribution. The Church gives us daily the testimony that it is proceeding consistently and without hesitation on the path carved out by our Lord Himself, so that the faithful people who trust it and turn to it in the difficult times of suffering, may be strengthened".


Papal visit to Turkey might cause problems -- expert

ANKARA, August 30 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Palaria) - The November 30 trip of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey might lead to inter-faith problems, the head of a religious foundation in Turkey said.

Muammer Karabulut, the chairman of the Saint Nicholas Foundation, said the concerns were related to the pontiff's support for the policy pursued by the Constantinople Patriarchate, which claimed jurisdiction over all eparchies beyond canonical territories belonging to Orthodox churches.

"The trip is nothing other than a move aiming to secure international recognition for ecumenism (world-wide status) of the Constantinople Patriarchate," Karabulut said. "The Roman Catholic Church would be making an irrevocable mistake if it did this, so we believe it would be reasonable to postpone Benedict XVI's trip to Istanbul."

He also said that the Constantinople Patriarchate had lost its ecumenism in 1434.

The ecumenical work of the current patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, has repeatedly led to disputes in recent years in Turkey's political circles over of the Patriarchate's status.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul recently drew the line under arguments, by saying that the Constantinople Patriarchate would retain its current status under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which also determined the current status of Turkey. The treaty "has no reference either to the patriarchate's or the patriarch's status," the minister said.

"If Benedict XVI visited Hagia Sophia Cathedral, [the Church of the Holy Wisdom in Istanbul], it would lead to unnecessary arguments and protests in Turkey," Karabulut said.

Experts said the heightened interest in the pontiff's trip to Istanbul was due to upcoming discussions between Turkey and the European Union on the country's EU membership. European watchers have highlighted the differences between the positions of the pontiff and the Constantinople patriarch on the issue, because as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prior to becoming the head of the Catholic Church, the current pope publicly opposed Turkish membership in the EU, whereas Patriarch Bartholomew supported it.