Turkey Cultivates Sites of Its Christian Heritage

Knapsacks shouldered and bibles in hand, a group of Christian pilgrims from Indonesia, China and the United States trooped into the remains of a fourth-century church in ancient Philadelphia last month. Gazing up at the columns that tower over what is today the Turkish market town of Alasehir, the pilgrims listened as their Australian guide read from the Apostle John's letter to the early Christians of this city, one of the biblical Seven Churches of Revelation.

Patriarch Bartholomew I, center, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, conducted a service at the Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, northeastern Turkey, in 2010.

European Council of Religious Leaders to meet in Moscow for the first time

The European Council of Religious Leaders will hold its annual meeting from June 21-23 in Moscow for the first time. As was proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, the ECRL will consider Human Rights and Traditional Values in Europe.

The ECRL is one of the four regional interreligious councils under the World Conference of Religions for Peace. It unites authoritative religious leaders in Europe including Christians, Jews and Muslims and provides for the participation of other traditional religions represented in the continent. Founded in Oslo in 2002, it consists of 45 members.

Invotation for the former students of Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Belgrade

Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Belgrade wishes to establish firm contact and cooperation with all its graduated students. Accordingly, the Dean's office invites graduated students of this Faculty to send in their names, home and email addresses, and telephone numbers. It would be useful if they could also supply their INDEX number and the year of graduation.

Media Announcement – Paschal Epistle of the SOC 2011

His Holiness Patriarch IRINEJ of Serbia will read the Paschal Epistle of the Serbian Orthodox Church 2011 on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at noon, at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.

We call all representatives of media to accredit their journalists and cameramen no later than Tuesday, April 19 , 2011 at 2 P.M. Applications for an accreditation which contain a list of journalists and cameramen attending this event should be sent to info@spc.rs. Subsequent applications will not be accepted.

Information Service of the SOC

‘Erdoğan saved future of Greek Orthodox Patriarchate’

The spokesperson of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Father Dositheos Anağnostopulos, has said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saved the future of the patriarchate by offering Turkish citizenship to a number of archbishops in 2009. In an interview with the Star daily, Anağnos-topulos said there were 12 archbishops on the patriarchate's Spiritual Board at the time. "Most of [those archbishops] are very old. In order to become a member of this board, one has to be a Turkish citizen. If the patriarch dies one day, it seemed unlikely that a new patriarch would be elected from the board [due to the members' age]. This danger has now passed. The prime minister attended a luncheon on Büyükada in August 2009 ... and said the problem with the Spiritual Board will be overcome if archbishops applied to become Turkish citizens. He assured us that applicants would be granted citizenship," the spokesperson stated.