United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had ruled in favor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

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 )

The XVI International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality Opens

The XVI International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality opened in September 18th, 2008, in the Bose monastery in Northern Italy. Organized by the Monastery in cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Conference is focusing Spiritual Paternity in the Orthodox Tradition, as one of the essential topics of spiritual life where Eastern and Western Christian traditions meet. The Secretary of the Vatican's Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Bishop Brian Farrell is attending the conference.

Source: Radio Vatican


A giant sculpture of Christ performed by a Russian sculptor to be put up in Syria

A 33 meters high sculpture of the Savior will be put up in the place of His miraculous appearing to the Apostle Paul, where today there is the Cherubim Monastery in Kaukaba (Syria).

"We came to Syria to tell a word of truth in this holy place one more time," Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, confessor of the fund "Spiritual Heritage of the Saint Apostle Paul", said at the press conference held in the Interfax headquarters.
The sculpture is funded by this fund and the international league "Protection of Human Dignity and Safety".

Orthodox Church for Sami people

The Russian Orthodox Church has decided to construct a new church for the people of Loparskaya, a Sami village in Murmansk Oblast."Among the Sami people there are many Orthodox believers - therefore we have decided to build a new church for the indigenous people of the tundra", a announcement from the church reads.

With the blessing from Arch-Bishop Simon of Murmansk and Monchegorsk, local priest Andrey Amelin recently consecrated the site of the church.


Delegation of the Russian Church Abroad visit Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

On September 10, 2008, a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, headed by His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, arrived in Prague. Venerating the altar table of Assumption Church at the Russian cemetery, the delegation headed for the city of Brno. There, on the feast day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, Bishop Peter and the members of the delegation participated in Divine Liturgy headed by His Eminence Archbishop Simeon of Moravia at the Church of St Wenceslas of the Czech Lands. It is worth noting that two great men of piety participated in its consecration: Holy Hierarch-Martyr Gorazd of Czech and Moravia and St Justin (Popovich).

Serbian Basketball Stars Visit Children In Kosovo and Metohija

Retired NBA All-Star, Vlade Divac, is surrounded by young fans as he signs autographs and distributes athletic gear during a visit to a primary school in Kosovo and Metohija. Divac was accompanied by former NBA player Dragan Tarlac and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Executive Director & CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou as they toured IOCC development projects throughout Kosovo. (photo credit: IOCC Serbia)

September 12, 2008 - Belgrade, Serbia (IOCC) - His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan hosted Serb basketball stars Vlade Divac and Dragan Tarlac on a two-day visit to Kosovo and Metohija September 8-9, 2008. The delegation visited children as they began the new school year and provided shirts, hats and basketballs donated by Adidas through the Peja Stojakovic Children's Foundation. The trip to Kosovo and Metohija was organized by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in cooperation with His Grace Bishop Teodosije and included the participation of IOCC Executive Director & CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou.

The delegation made stops in Serb enclaves in Kosovo

Orthodox Christianity under threat

When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and his Islamic-rooted party came under fierce fire this summer from secularists, who came close to persuading the country's supreme court to bar both from politics, he called the campaign an attack against religious freedom and a threat to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.

Yet in nearly six years in power, Erdogan has shown no inclination to extend even a modicum of religious freedom to the most revered Christian institution in Turkey - the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the spiritual center of 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world. As a result, Turkey's persecution of the Patriarchate looms as a major obstacle to its European aspirations, and rightly so.