Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome to make its Loggia, Crypt and Treasury accessible to Visitors

The papal Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome has changed its visit schedule. From Saturday, June 21, and on five following Saturdays the church doors will be open in the evenings in order to provide a special access to its loggia, crypt and treasury, reports, citing Vatican Radio.

A tour which lasts an hour and a half must be pre-booked. For 18 Euros you can admire the loggia’s mosaic décor, which has survived since the 13th century, see the statue of an angel by the Italian sculptor Pietro Bracci (the 18th century), the papal hall (early 17th century), the baroque stairs by the Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The tour continues in the crypt below the church and goes through the basilica’s Sistine Chapel, where the crypt of the sculptor and architect Arnolfo di Campio is located. 

Greeks Recognized as the Most Religious People in the European Union

A pan-European survey conducted by the Department of Social Research in nineteen European Union countries recognized Greeks to be the most religious people in the EU.

The results of the survey were published in a Guide to Mount Athos with reference to the newspaper «ΕλεύθεροςΤύπος».

Historic Meeting of Patriarchs of Alexandria and Archbishop of Finland in Helsinki

Historic Meeting of Patriarchs of Alexandria and Archbishop of Finland in Helsinki
Historic Meeting of Patriarchs of Alexandria and Archbishop of Finland in Helsinki
Historic Meeting of Patriarchs of Alexandria and Archbishop of Finland in Helsinki
Historic Meeting of Patriarchs of Alexandria and Archbishop of Finland in Helsinki

 The Finnish Orthodox Church celebrates the historic meeting of three Hierarchs from the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox family. Pope & Patriarch Tawadros II of Alexandria All Africa – Primate of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope & Patriarch Theodros II of Alexandria and All Africa – Primate of the Alexandrian Patriarchate and Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland who is the Primate of the Finnish Orthodox Church met in the capital city of Finland on 23rd June 2014.

Everyday Saints and Other Stories being translated into Chinese

On June 9-11, 2014, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and on the Shanghai International Studies University’s invitation, executive secretary of the Patriarchal Council for Culture and Abbot-Superior of the Moscow Sretensky Stavropegic Monastery Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) visited Shanghai.      The university’s Russian language and literature department has launched an initiative to translate Archimandrite Tikhon’s book, Everyday Saints and Other Stories, into Chinese. Dean of the department professor Chan Zh Li and Archimandrite Tikhon have signed an agreement about translation and publication of the book. The university President professor Cao Deming, teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate students were present at the signing. Also negotiations for cooperation between the Patriarchal Council for Culture and the Shanghai International Studies University were held.

Iran to restore 3 Armenian churches

Iran is ready to launch works for restoration of 3 Armenian churches in the Tghmut river basin.

The Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Atrpatakan, Supreme Archimandrite Grigor Chiftchyan addressed the Aras economic zone department for protection of cultural and religious monuments with a request to observe the norms of Armenian church construction, Blagovest-Info reported.

Iran has 7 free economic zones, with the Republic’s government planning to use them for development of economy and tourism. Extensive grounds owned by Armenian Church, as well as 3 churches – St. Gregory the Illuminator, St. Sargis and St. George are situated in Aras.

Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko meets with participants in 4th Orthodox-Catholic Forum

On June 3, 2014, Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko received in audience participants in the 4th Orthodox-Catholic Forum “Religion and Cultural Diversity: Challenges for Christian Churches in Europe”, which opened yesterday in Minsk.

The meeting, which took place at the Palace of Independence, was attended by Orthodox and Catholic hierarchs and theologians from 22 European countries.

Mr Lukashenko welcomed the guests, stressing that the life of Europe is based on the Christian worldview. The co-chairmen of the Forum, Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima (Patriarchate of Constantinople), and Cardinal Peter Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, greeted the president. Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus, addressed himself to President Lukashenko.