There are few spots on earth these days where religions mingle without rancor, or worse. But the Russian republic of Tatarstan has turned religious tolerance into its post-Soviet brand - a place where Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics mix and respect each other's traditions.
For those who think administrators are no more than "empty suits," with nothing to teach us spiritually, the early medieval Pope Gregory I ("the Great") is the great counter-example. Gregory (ca. 540-604) was a contemplative mystic at heart who struggled all of his days with the conflict between busyness and intimacy with Christ. And this struggle gave him great pastoral sympathy for a group of people who had become "second-class citizens" in Christendom: married layfolk. His meditations on the busy life-the life he associated both with Jesus' friend Martha and Jacob's wife Leah-led him to formulate a spiritual theology that blasted monastic elitism and freed busy laypeople to enjoy the contemplative life.
An appeal for world peace was passed from religious leaders to children to government officials in Cyprus. With the presentation of the appeal, the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, traditionally sponsored by the Catholic lay Sant'Egidio Community, and this year cosponsored by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, came to an end. This 22nd annual meeting was on "The Civilization of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue."
The Holodomor is the name given to the famine that took place in Soviet Ukraine in the 1932-1933 agricultural season, as part of a wider famine which took place in other regions of the USSR. The famine was caused by the food requisition actions carried by Soviet authorities. The Holodomor is considered one of the greatest national catastrophes to affect the Ukrainian nation in modern history where millions of inhabitants of Ukraine died of starvation in an unprecedented peacetime catastrophe. Estimates for the total number of casualties within Soviet Ukraine vary between 2.2 million (demographers' estimate) and 3-3.5 million, and up to 14 million (historians' estimate).
The address of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine to the Entire Pious Ukrainian Nation can be read below:
On Sunday November 30, 2008, the Feast of Andrew the First Called Apostle, His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America will celebrate a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM, at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. This is the Patronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archons in America.