Serbian “students-in-residence” strengthen ties with St. Vladimir’s

St. Vladimir's AcademySeventeen seminary students from Belgrade, Serbia spent one week on the seminary campus as "performers in residence," cultivating important religious, cultural, and academic ties with the seminarians and faculty at St Vladimir's, from September 12-19, 2008.

Highlights of their visit included a public concert performance in the John G. Rangos Family Building, featuring multi-part Russian Orthodox liturgical hymns and traditional Byzantine chant following the typikon of Mount Athos; and their choral participation in the Vigil of the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, celebrated by His Grace Maxim (Vasiljevic), Bishop of the Western Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had ruled in favor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

In September 9th, 2008, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom threw its weight behind the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that had ruled in favor of the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, specifically as to its historic Orphanage on the island of Pringkipos . In the official Press Release of the Commission, Commission Chair Felice Gaer stated:

"This is a landmark decision for the rights of all religious minorities in Turkey, not least because it recognizes the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a legal entity. The Commission calls on the U.S. government to urge the government of Turkey to demonstrate its commitment to observe the rule of law for all citizens of Turkey by implementing this important ruling."

(Full Press Release http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2262&Itemid=1 )

Bulgarian PM opens Orthodox church in Turkey

Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev and Turkish Culture & Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay opened Sunday the Sveti Constantine and Elena Church, restored by the Bulgarian government in Turkey.

Following the opening ceremony, Bulgarian premier attended a mass at the church in the northwestern city of Edirne. Stanishev said the opening of the church was the sign of good neighborly relations between Turkey and Bulgaria."This is a good example for the countries in our region, the Caucasus and also for other countries in the world," Stanishev said. "This is the second church in Edirne. I would like to thank everyone who is involved. It has ben restored by the Bulgarian government for half a million euros. But we could not achieve it without support from Turkish authorities," he said.

The XVI International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality Opens

The XVI International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality opened in September 18th, 2008, in the Bose monastery in Northern Italy. Organized by the Monastery in cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Conference is focusing Spiritual Paternity in the Orthodox Tradition, as one of the essential topics of spiritual life where Eastern and Western Christian traditions meet. The Secretary of the Vatican's Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Bishop Brian Farrell is attending the conference.

Source: Radio Vatican

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A giant sculpture of Christ performed by a Russian sculptor to be put up in Syria

A 33 meters high sculpture of the Savior will be put up in the place of His miraculous appearing to the Apostle Paul, where today there is the Cherubim Monastery in Kaukaba (Syria).

"We came to Syria to tell a word of truth in this holy place one more time," Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, confessor of the fund "Spiritual Heritage of the Saint Apostle Paul", said at the press conference held in the Interfax headquarters.
The sculpture is funded by this fund and the international league "Protection of Human Dignity and Safety".