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Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


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Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all the ages of ages.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Church in Turkey

The Patriarch and the rest of the Turkish Christians are in a very tough situation:

From popeandpatriarch.com:
...Constantinople's Greeks were spared from annihilation, but their ranks thinned out of fear and harassment in the new order. Subsequent pogroms, notably the Turkish government-sponsored 1955 pogroms, had the effect of progressively reducing the numbers of native-born Constantinopolitan Christians. Concurrent with this, the Turkish state pursued an active program of expropriation which itself abetted a vicious circle: if a church property fell into disuse, the state seized it...

From Newsweek:
Although the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople does not exercise the jurisdictional and doctrinal authority in world Orthodoxy that the papacy exercises in world Catholicism, it does enjoy a historic status as "first among equals" in Orthodoxy, plays an important role in coordinating Orthodox affairs globally and is regarded as the spiritual center of global Orthodoxy by Orthodox believers. Yet it is Turkish law, not the canons of the Orthodox Church, that determines who is eligible to be elected ecumenical patriarch, and Turkish law limits the pool of possible candidates to Turkish citizens living in Turkey. As a recent memorandum from the Ecumenical Patriarchate put it, "the result of these restrictions is that in the not so distant future the Ecumenical Patriarchate may not be able to elect a Patriarch."

From Inside the Vatican:
"Then it will be hard to find a successor for Patriarch Bartholomew, in time to come?"

"Very hard," he replies. "Because there is a law in Turkey that the head of the patriarchate must be a Turkish citizen, and there are only about 2,000 Orthodox who remain, and only a handful of men who might be qualified to be patriarch, perhaps five."

From a speech in the British House of Lords:
Once Antioch was one of the great cities of the world; the place where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. For many centuries it was the hub of an important Syrian Christian culture. Now it is simply a village in Turkey ... caught between the Turkish Army on the one hand and the Kurdish PKK on the other. They have dwindled to barely a few hundred families.

From the Syriac magazine Tebayn:
Exodus shows pictures of the village of Hassana in SE Turkey. Its last inhabitants were evicted from their native soil by the Turkish army in 1993.

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