Unbelievable but true: the headquarters of the Secretariat for the entry of Turkey into the European Union is a building confiscated from the Orthodox Christian community in the 90s. The building is located in Istanbul, in the well-known area of Ortakoy, under the first bridge over the Bosphorus. Before the seizure, the building was used as a primary school for children of the minority Orthodox in Ortakoy. Here, once lived a thriving Orthodox community, now non-existent because of past purges against minorities, executed by the "secular" Turkish State.
His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received warm, fraternal greetings from Pope Benedict XVI on November 30th, the Feastday of the Ecumenical Throne, of St. Andrew the First-Called Disciple.
The Pope's message was delivered to the Ecumenical Patriarch by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George. The Vatican delegation also included Bishop Brian Farrell, Fr. Vladimiro Caroli, Fr. Andrea Palmieri, and Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, the apostolic nuncio in Ankara.
Theological and catechetical courses for laity were inaugurated on Nov. 26 at the Church of St. John of Kronstadt in Hamburg. The lay courses have been organized with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia who instructed the faculty of St. Tikhon's Orthodox University to help the Hamburg community in implementing the project. Archpriest Vladimir Vorobyev, rector of St. Tikhon's University, officiated at the prayer service for the commencement of the courses. Present were clergy from fraternal Orthodox communities in Hamburg and other cities in Germany as well as representatives of other Christian confessions and various public organizations.
President Dmitry Medvedev wins the prize of the Patriarch Alexy II International Foundation of the Unity of Orthodox Nations30. November 2009 - 9:25
The prize commission of the Unity of Orthodox Nations International Foundation meeting on 24 November 2009 with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, chairman of the Foundation's Patrons Board, considered candidates for the Foundation's prize in the nomination ‘For outstanding work to strengthen the unity of Orthodox nations and to promote Christian values in the life of society'. It was agreed to award the 2009 prize to President Dmitry Medvedev.
Victims of the mass starvation and repression were commemorated on 28 November 2009 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany at Yelokhovo in Moscow. The Office for the Dead was led by the rector of the church, Protopresbyter Matfey Stadniuk. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Synodal department for church-state relations, delivered a homily.
The 3d World Congress of Compatriots who reside abroad will be held on December 1-2, 2009, in Moscow. It is expected to be attended by nearly 1000 people from 90 countries. The Congress will be opened on December 1 at the House of Unions Column Hall. Among those who are expected to come for the opening are His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, as well as Moscow Mayor Yu. Luzhkov and the Tatarstan President M. Shaymiev.