NEW YORK – In response to the reports in Turkish and world media about an assassination plot against His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Demetrios of America today wrote to President Obama urging him to exercise his good offices to ensure the safety of His All Holiness.
Noting the continuing crisis in Aleppo, Syria, where the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Hierarchs remain missing, kidnapped by terrorists, the Archbishop asked the President to protect His All Holiness, as the 1,700 year presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) is the highest Christian presence of a Christian leader in a Muslim country.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is pleased to announce the receipt of a very significant message and greeting from the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the First Lady Michelle Obama, on the occasion of Orthodox Pascha.
NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is pleased to announce the receipt of a very significant message and greeting from the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the First Lady Michelle Obama, on the occasion of Orthodox Pascha (Easter). In his message, the President makes reference to the ordeals facing Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and North Africa and reaffirms his commitment to religious freedom as a universal human right.
The Statement of the President follows:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2013
Statement by the President on the Occasion of Orthodox Easter
This weekend, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to members of the Orthodox Christian community here in America and around the world as they observe Holy Friday and the Feast of the Resurrection.
For millions of Orthodox Christians, this is a joyful time. But it’s also a reminder of the sacrifice Christ made so that we might have eternal life. His decision to choose love in the face of hate; hope in the face of despair is an example we should always strive to follow. But it’s especially important to remember this year, as members of the Orthodox community have been confronted with persecution and violence, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. For centuries, the region and the world has been enriched by the contributions of Orthodox communities in countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. As a nation, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting universal human rights including the freedom of religion. And in this season of hope and restoration, we celebrate the transformational power of sacrificial love.
By God’s mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the plenitude of the Church
Grace, peace and mercy from Christ risen in glory
Beloved concelebrants and devout, god-loving children of the Church,
Christ is Risen!
The proclamation of the Resurrection by the myrrh-bearing women to the disciples of Christ was considered delirious. Yet, the word, formerly conceived as delirious, was confirmed as Truth. The risen Lord appeared to His disciples on several occasions.
In our time, the proclamation of the Resurrection is again considered delirious by rationalists. Nonetheless, we faithful not only believe in but also experience the Resurrection as a profoundly truthful fact. Indeed, if necessary, we seal our testimony with self-sacrifice because in the risen Christ we transcend death and are liberated from its fear. Our hearts are filled with joy when we repeat: The Lord has risen. Our saints, who have died according to the world, continue to live among us, responding to our petitions. The world that follows death is truer than the world that precedes death. Christ has risen and dwells among us. He has promised to be with us to the end of the world. And so He is – as our friend, brother, healer, who bestows all good things.
Blessed is our God, who has risen from the dead, granting eternal life to all people. O death, where is your sting? Christ has risen, revealing and ridiculing the one who formerly boasted without end to be a mockery. (See the Canon of St. John Damascene, 4th tone, 9th ode) Everything is filled with light and our hearts are replete with limitless joy.
And more than joy, they are filled with strength. For whoever believes in the Resurrection is unafraid of death; and whoever is unafraid of death is spiritually unyielding and unbending inasmuch as what may be the most terrible threat for the majority and for the disbelievers is of little significance to the Christian; for it is the entrance to life itself. The faithful Christian lives the Resurrection even prior to his or her natural death.
The consequence of experiencing the Resurrection is the transformation of the world. It inspires the soul. And an inspired soul also attracts other souls to its ways, when these souls are moved by the genuine joyous experience of immortality. Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection are not simply an abstract truth. They are a dogma of faith. They are a tangible reality. They are a force that overcomes the world despite the extremely harsh persecutions waged against it. “This is the victory, which has conquered the world, namely our faith” (1 John 5.4) in His Resurrection. Through the Resurrection, humanity is called to divinity through grace. Through the victory of the light of Resurrection over the impure passions, divine eros and a strange love, which surpasses human boundaries, are established in our souls.
Therefore, Christ is Risen! Our hearts are filled with the light and joy of the Resurrection. We approach the Risen Lord with authenticity and simplicity. For, as the royal Prophet David says, our God, who supervises our hearts from above, “will not despise a broken and contrite heart.” (Psalm 50.19)
The Resurrection is our strength, hope, joy, and delight. Through the Resurrection, we transcend pain and sorrow for all the evils of this natural, worldly life. The Resurrection is God’s response to the helplessness of wounded humanity before the suffering of worldly humanity.
We do not surrender to the difficulties and c For the rest of this News Release, visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website
Archdiocese Joins Cardinal Dolan at Mass for Kidnapped Syrian Bishops
May 2, 2013
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, held a special mass today, May 2, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece will receive an Honorary Doctorate from Holy Cros
NEW YORK – Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, held a special mass today, May 2, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the safety and well-being of Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo His Eminence Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, His Eminence John Ibrahim who were recently kidnapped in Syria.
Cardinal Dolan invited leaders from the Orthodox community and other Catholic leaders to join him in praying for the speedy return of the two kidnapped prelates. His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela represented Archbishop Demetrios of America, accompanied by Ecumenical Officer Father Mark Arey. His Eminence, Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim and Reverend Eli Shabo represented the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archpriest John Jillions represented the OCA.
Other Catholic leaders who participated were Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre; Bishop Gregory Mansour, Maronite Eparchy, and Monsignor John Kozar, president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Fatima Shama, Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, represented the Mayor’s Office.
Following the service, Cardinal Dolan hosted all the clergy in his residence for a robust discussion of the situation and ways the various Christian Churches can work together for the release of the Hierarchs and the amelioration of the circumstances of all Christians in the Middle East.
May 1, 2013
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece will receive an Honorary Doctorate from Holy Cross School of Theology in Boston.
Assembly of Bishops' Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry
NEW YORK – Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will confer an Honorary Doctorate Degree to His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece, during its 2013 graduation ceremony, Saturday May 18.
The day before, May 17, His Beatitude will officiate at Vespers in the School’s Chapel of Holy Cross. That evening the Theological School will host a dinner in his honor.
On Saturday May 18 and following the Divine Liturgy, the formal 71st Commencement of Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology will take place, during which, an Honorary Doctorate of Theology will be conferred upon His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece. That evening Archbishop Ieronymos accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America will travel to New York.
On Sunday morning, May 19, an Archieratical concelebration of the Divine Liturgy will take place at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York. Later in the evening, a special concert by the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir and the Archdiocesan Youth Choir will be offered to honor Archbishop Ieronymos.
On Monday, May 20, Archbishop Ieronymos will visit the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Greek American School of St. Demetrios in Astoria, NY.
On Tuesday, May 21, Feast day of Sts. Constantine and Helen, His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Brooklyn, NY, which celebrates its 100th anniversary.
More details on the program of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos’ visit in Boston and New York will be forthcoming.
April 29, 2013
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.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
The Honorable John KerryUnited 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.
Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, religious minorities have not only come under increasing attacks by Islamic fundamentalist rebels, but also have been caught in the crossfire of the opposing factions. As you well know, on April 22, 2013, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report entitled Protecting and Promoting Religious Freedom in Syria. Religious minorities, including the Christian population, have been targeted for extinction in an attempt to create an Islamic State in Syria and to impose Sharia Law as the law of the land. To that end, Christian clerics have been kidnapped and murdered, even as they tried to bring aid and comfort to their people in this war torn country, while others are still missing, taken captive by rebel forces.
We fervently beseech you to immediately call for and actively work towards the immediate release of Archbishops Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim, especially as Orthodox Christians around the globe are preparing to celebrate the Resurrection of OurLord and Savior Jesus Christ on May 5th. We would further hope that the United States government, which has always been a champion of civil rights and religious freedom and defends the dignity and safety of every individual, would exert pressure on all parties in Syria to stop the killing of innocent people and restore freedom of religion and respect for all religious minorities.
We are indebted to you and others within the administration for your tireless efforts. As Orthodox Christians, the most appropriate way to express this appreciation is to continue to pray for all our civil authorities. May the Lord bless and keep you: The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. (OT Book of Numbers 6:24-26).
Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of BishopsGreek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Metropolitan Philip, 1st Vice Chairman of the Assembly of BishopsAntiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of New York and all North America
Archbishop Justinian, 2nd Vice Chairman of the Assembly of BishopsRussian Orthodox Church in the USA
Bishop Basil, Secretary of the Assembly of BishopsAntiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America
Metropolitan Antony, Treasurer of the Assembly of BishopsUkrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Eastern Eparchy
Metropolitan IakovosGreek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago
Metropolitan MethodiosGreek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Metropolitan IsaiahGreek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
Metropolitan AlexiosGreek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta
Metropolitan NicholasGreek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit
Metropolitan SavasGreek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Metropolitan GerasimosGreek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Metropolitan EvangelosGreek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey
Bishop AndoniosGreek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Bisho For the rest of this News Release, visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Requests the Release of abducted Hierarchs
April 25, 2013
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Requests the Release of abducted Hierarchs and expresses suport to the Patriarchate of Antioch.
Prayers for the Safety of Abducted Bishops
CONSTANTINOPLE – According to reports from Mr. Nikos Maginas from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had a telephone communication in the evening of Monday, April 22, with His Beatitude Patriarch John of Antioch. Patriarch John expressed his heartfelt thanks for the immediate interest expressed by His All Holiness from the first moments after the abduction of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and his company.
It is worth noting that the Ecumenical Patriarch, immediately after receiving the first information which reported the abductees might be in Turkish territory, advised the Turkish Prime Minister, and requested immediate assistance for their location and release.
The Ecumenical Patriarch also telephoned Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, with whom he discussed the case of the kidnapping of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and his company, in order to have the greatest possible help for their release.
During their telephone conversation with Patriarch John of Antioch, the Ecumenical Patriarach Bartholomew expressed his deep concerns and unreserved support both to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and to Patriarch John personally, as Metropoltan Paul is the blood brother of His Beatitude.
April 23, 2013
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is deeply saddened and concerned that Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Archdiocese of Aleppo, were both abducted by terrorists in a suburb of Aleppo
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is deeply saddened and concerned that Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, and the brother of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, as well as Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Archdiocese of Aleppo, were both abducted by terrorists in a suburb of Aleppo as they were returning from Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) to Aleppo. The deacon who was driving their automobile was shot and killed in the attack.
The Archdiocese asks all Faithful to remember them in prayer and to contact their elected officials on their behalf. As the Syrian People continue to experience violence and civil unrest, we commit to peaceful means and hopes for unity to address concerns of all parties. The Archdiocese remains steadfast in prayer for the Patriarchate of Antioch both here and abroad
For more information, visit the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese website.
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