The Honorable John Kerry
United States Secretary of State
Dear Secretary Kerry,
We, the Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, kindly bring to your attention the urgent and very serious plight of the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim, who were abducted this past week by “a terrorist group” in the village of Kfar Dael as they were carrying out humanitarian work.
On Saturday, April 27, 2013, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in his native island of Imvros, where he will celebrate Holy Week and Pascha for the first time in fifty years. He is accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonies and Archdeacon Maximos Vgenopoulos. His Eminence Metropolitan Stephanos of Kallioupolis and Madytos is serving as Patriarchal Vicar at the Patriarchal Church of St. George at the Phanar.
The municipal authorities of the city of Palermo have resolved to grant use of a former church building to the Russian Orthodox Church in Palermo. The church is dedicated to St. Alexander, but for the past ten years has been used to house an art academy for religious art restoration.
The final agreement is scheduled to be signed in June, 2013, stated Alexander Lvovich Korotkov, General Consul of the Russian Federation in Palermo on Friday.
On December 6, 2010, in connection with the anniversary in 2014, the President of the Russian Federation D. A. Medvedev gave his approval to set up a workinggroup attached to the President to prepare celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the birth of Saint Sergius of Radonezh. Responsibility for the groupwas assigned by the President to the then Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Administration A. D. Beglov (now the executive representative of the Presidentof the Russian Federation for the Central Federal District). The first meeting of the group took place on March 16, 2011 in the Red Hall of the Cathedralof Christ the Savior in Moscow under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and A.D. Beglov. During the meeting the group’s scheme of workwas approved. It included:
Representatives of Athonite Monasteries have joined the struggle of residents of the neighboring town of ierisos against gold-mining in this region, reports Sedmitza.ru with references to the Romfea and Amen agencies.
It was reported by Father Nicodemus on behalf of the Holy Epistasia. He also informed that a delegation of Athonite Monks would pass a letter from the Holy Epistasia to the prime-minister of Greece Antonis Samaras with the request to free two detained local residents who committed an arson in the locality of Skuries where the "Greek gold" company was planning to do its work. Their actions were recognized as "terrorist and political".
On April 16, 2013, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, visited Poland. He was accompanied by Hegumen Philaret (Bulekov), DECR vice-chairman, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, Hierodeacon Ioann (Kopekin) assistant to the DECR chairman, A. Churyakov, a staff member of the DECR, and Orthodox laymen I. Savvidi and A. Sevastyanov.