Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a major address to the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliament25. September 2008 - 7:12
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a major address to the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliament during the formal sitting of the assembly in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. His All Holiness was introduced by Mr. Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament. The Press Release of the European Parliament highlighting His All Holiness' address is given in full below, as well as a link to the address in its entirety.
"We are all brothers and sisters", Ecumenical Patriarch tells MEPs
Addressing a formal sitting of the House as part of European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, spoke of the value of the European project in promoting peace and tolerance, the importance of accepting minorities and the need for the EU to accept Turkey as a member. He also underlined his church's efforts to encourage respect for the environment.
Archbishop Demetrios of America received, on September 22, 2008, at the Archdiocese headquarters, the Holy and Sacred Relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov, one of the best known Russian Orthodox Saints of the 19 th century and a popular saint in Greece.
Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, the head of the Representation of the Patriarchate of Moscow in the United States presented to Archbishop Demetrios the relics, sent directly from Moscow and by the express wish of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia.
On 22nd September 2008, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, together with His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Mareotis, Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria and His Grace Bishop Spyridon of Kanopos, Hegoumen of the Holy Patriarchal Monastery of St Savvas the Sanctified in Alexandria, the Sanctification Blessing (Agiasmos) for the beginning of the new Academic year at the Patriarchal Academy "St Athanasios the Great" and addressed paternal advice and blessings to its African students.
Seventeen 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.
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.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had ruled in favor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate20. September 2008 - 13:39
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 )