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.
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.)
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.
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.
Here is the text of the address Benedict XVI gave 15th May in an ecumenical meeting at the Greek Orthodox patriarchate of Jerusalem.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with profound gratitude and joy that I make this visit to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem; a moment to which I have much looked forward. I thank His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III for his kind words of fraternal greeting, which I warmly reciprocate. I also express to all of you my heartfelt gratitude for providing me with this opportunity to meet once again the many leaders of Churches and ecclesial communities present.