Tom Hanks is happy to be a member of the Orthodox Church

Hollywood actor Tom Hanks appreciates his membership in the Orthodox Church and intends to raise his four children in similar vein.

"I am aware that it is vitally important to come to church and contemplate those substantial questions put by the Orthodoxy and the answers it offers," Hanks said in an interview published by Argumenty i Fakty.

Russian Church concerned about the probability of religious minorities' "dictatorship" in Europe

Archpriest Georgy Ryabykh, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, urges European religious leaders to pursue protection of their believers' rights at the legislative level to offset the dominant influence of new religious movements.

"Sometimes, we can even witness the minorities' dictatorship. They demand more rights and benefits for themselves than the major religions have in the public sector in many European countries," Fr. Georgy said at a meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders in Lille, France.

The Great Monastery in Captivity

A long-standing land dispute between the Syrian Orthodox community in south-east Turkey and the local villagers has finally turned into a legal battle attracting international attention. The disagreement has been closely monitored by the European Union for some time, and US President Barack Obama and the State Department are monitoring the dispute.

In a remote village near Midyat, South East Turkey, a land dispute with neighboring villages is threatening the future of Mor Gabriel, one of the World's oldest Christian monasteries, also known as the monastery of St. Gabriel, a property of the Syrian Orthodox Church (Suryani).
In August 2008, three mukhtars (low level elected officials with limited authority) in Midyat, filed a criminal complaint with a local prosecutor against the Monastery of St. Gabriel alleging it "illegally appropriated territory by building a wall." (See US Department of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: Turkey.)

FIFA President visits Orthodox church in Moldova

President Sep Blatter, FIFA President, was awarded in the Orthodox Church Moldova's highest honour, 'Stephen the Pious, the Great and the Saint', by His Holiness Vladimir, the Metropolitan Bishop of Chisinau and all Moldova.

"I am deeply touched by this award. For me, religion and football have at least one thing in common: they bring hope and motion to the people," said the FIFA President.

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Benedict XVI in the Holy Land at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

On May 15, the Holy Father Benedict XVI traveled to the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem for an ecumenical meeting with the representatives of the Christian community in the Holy Land. After greeting His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III, the Holy Father recalled the "historic meetings" that have taken place in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, and also between Pope John Paul II and His Beatitude Patriarch Diodoros. "These encounters, including my visit today, are of great symbolic significance. They recall that the light of the East has illumined the entire world from the very moment when a 'rising sun' came to visit us and they remind us too that from here the Gospel was preached to all nations," the Pope said.