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 )
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, who was part of the delegation that appeared before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France last year, commenting on the statement of the US Commission on International Human Rights today, said:
"We wholeheartedly welcome this affirmation by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom of the judgment of the European Court in favor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The significance of such a call for action by the US government cannot be underscored enough. Europe and the United States are speaking loud and clear for the protection of the most basic human rights and religious liberties of our Holy Mother Church. We pray that such calls will not go unheeded, and that the purely spiritual ministry of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be recognized for what it is - a service to all humankind."