His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Holiness Pope Francis crossed a fifty-year milestone today, continuing the legacy of their predecessors Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. In 1964, those leaders broke a silence of centuries and paved the way toward greater dialogue.
Meeting this afternoon at the Apostolic Delegation in the Old City of Jerusalem, the global heads of the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches signed a Joint Declaration affirming their commitment to seek unity between their respective ecclesial bodies. Moreover, they expressed their profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their fundamental right to remain full citizens of their homelands:
The Interparliementrary Assembly on Orthodoxy Seminar Conference on Mass Media has kicked off in Thessaloniki on 12th May 2014. The conference seminar has attracted several mass media professionals and journalist from various Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches , Pan- Orthodox organizations along with ecumenical delegations.
The first day witnessed the following events: Where Opening address was given by Mr. Sergei Popov, Member of the Russian State Duma, President of the I.A.O. General Assembly , Opening of the works by the Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister and Government Spokesperson Mr. Simos Kedikoglou (tbc.)
The St. Vladimir’s Seminary Chorale with Robin Freeman (Photos: Stephen Osburn)The Axion Estin chanters, with Eleftherios EleftheriadisA joint concert titled “Heaven and Earth: Sacred Music from the Byzantine Greek and Slavic Eastern Orthodox Christian Traditions,” was offered by the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Chorale, under the direction of SVOTS Lecturer in Choral Conducting Robin Freeman, and by chanters under the direction of Eleftherios Eleftheriadis of the Axion Estin Foundation. The highly regarded Protopsaltis of St. Nicholas Shrine Church in Flushing, NY, Eleftherios has taught two public continuing education courses in Byzantine Music at St. Vladimir’s, while conductor and soloist Robin Freeman has been involved with SVOTS music since 2006.
Pope Tawadros II is on an apostolic visit to UAE for five days which beagn on May 9th Friday. This is the first ever visit of the Pontiff to UAE since his consecration as the Coptic Pope of Alexandria and All Africa.
Pope will serve Liturgy and sermons at St Antony’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Abu Dhabi, which is home to one of the largest Coptic communities in the Emirates. Pope will also meet senior President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and other high level UAE officials, along with his visit to Dubai and Sharjah Emirates.
In the Syrian Old Homs, "Eleven Christian churches are either completely destroyed or heavily damaged," related a local priest named George Abu Zahem to the Lebanese The Daily Star newspaper.
He has described the situation in the al-Hamidiyah Christian quarter as disastrous. According to the priest, the churches were robbed and desecrated by militants.
"A true miracle happened at Holy Martyr Elian's Orthodox Church in Homs (6th century). The gunmen set it on fire. However, the fire did not touch the ancient icons on the walls—they just slightly darkened," the priest said.
The thick walls have saved the Cathedral of Holy Theotokos, the "calling card" of Old Homs, where is the city's main relic—a small portion of the Girdle of the Mother of God.
On May 7, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, left for the Vatican on a fraternal visit. On May 8, in the Apostolic Palace, His Holiness met with His Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Leader of the Catholic Church.
Present at the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Gisak Muradyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Argentine; His Eminence Archbishop Khajak Barsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church o North America; His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manoukian, Director of the Inter- Church Relations Department of the Mother See and Primate of the Artik Diocese; Rev. Fr. Anania Tsaturyan, Staff-Bearer of His Holiness Karekin II; Rev. Fr. Tovma Khachatryan, Spiritual Pastor of the Armenian Diocese in Italy; Rev. Fr. Vahram Melikyan, Director of the Information Services Department of the Mother See; and Mr. Michael Minasyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Holy See.