Reopening of Greek Orthodox Seminary back on agenda

Turkey has decided to reopen a former Greek Orthodox seminary on an island off the coast of İstanbul, according to a statement made by US President Barack Obama.

The EU and the US have frequently criticized Turkey for not reopening the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary — which experts say is related to Turkey’s interpretation of secularism — and failing to take measures to protect the patriarchate’s property rights. The patriarchate is under the protection of international law, as outlined in the Treaty of Lausanne. The patriarch has long complained about the status of the seminary, located on the island of Heybeliada near İstanbul, as well as other property issues. The government says it has been assessing a number of legal options to reopen the Halki seminary, which Bartholomew says is of vital importance for the survival of the Greek Orthodox clergy.

Feast of the Annunciation

Feast of the Annunciation
Feast of the Annunciation
Feast of the Annunciation
Feast of the Annunciation

On Sunday, March 25, 2012, His All-Holiness presided over the Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos at the Annunciation Church of Theotokos in Vafeochorion.

Among those in attendance were the former Prime Minister of Greece, the Hon. George Papandreou, and his wife Ada, Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos and the General Consul of Greece in Istanbul, the Hon. Nikolaos Matthioudakis.

Jerusalem Tomb Reveals First Archaeological Evidence of Christianity from the Time of Jesus

The archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem has revealed a set of limestone Jewish ossuaries or “bone boxes” that are engraved with a rare Greek inscription and a unique iconographic image that the scholars involved identify as distinctly Christian. The four-line Greek inscription on one ossuary refers to God “raising up” someone and a carved image found on an adjacent ossuary shows what appears to be a large fish with a human stick figure in its mouth, interpreted by the excavation team to be an image evoking the biblical story of Jonah.

Bulgarian Archaeologists Claim Oldest Monastery in Europe

Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered what they believe is the oldest Christian monastery in Europea near the village of Zlatna Livada in southern Bulgaria.

According to latest archaeological research, the St. Athanasius monastery, still functioning near the village, has been founded in 344 by St. Athanasius himself, reports the BGNES agency.

Until now, the Candida Casa monastery, founded in 371 AD in Galloway, Scotland, was believed to be the oldest Christian monastery in Europe, followed by the St. Martin monastery in the Pyrénées-Orientales, France (373 AD).

Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church takes part in interreligious conference at the Italian Council of Ministers

On 19 March 2012, the conference on Religions, Culture and Integration began at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome (residence of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic). Representatives of the majority of religious communities in Italy participated in the conference.

Hieromonk Antoniy (Sevryuk), secretary of the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate parishes in Italy, took part in the conference on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church. Bishop Siluan of Italy represented the Romanian Orthodox Church; archimandrite Simeon (Katsinas) – the Patriarchate of Constantinople; archpriest Rashko Radovich – the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities in Italy, as well as the major Christian denominations of this country, also sent their representatives to the conference.