The Ecumenical Patriarchate has announced that the scheduled visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States of America will take place from October 23 to November 3.

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NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Cyprus' Orthodox Church formally took charge Thursday of two ornately decorated 18th century doors stolen from a church in the ethnically divided island's breakaway north and reclaimed from a Japanese art college after a long legal battle.  --  Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos said the wooden doors — painted with religious scenes, carved and gilded — were discovered at the Kanazawa Art College more than 20 years ago and their return followed “long and intensive efforts.”

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Ecumenical Patriarch met Hungarian President

On Friday, September 10, 2021, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew departed yesterday for Budapest to attend and speak at the closing events of the International Eucharistic Congress of the Roman Catholic Church in the presence of Pope Francis.
 
On this occasion, the Patriarch will communicate and cooperate with the President of the Republic, the Parliament, and the Government of the Country on issues of the Hungarian Patriarchal Exarchate and will establish the Church of the Three Hierarchs on the premises of the large property donated by the Government to Ecumenical Patriarchate for the needs of the Exarchate.
 
A Florida couple had been trying to bring their son home from Afghanistan for years. Last month, he finally made it home, just in time.
 
He pointed out that so far he has not said a single word about the events in Montenegro, but that he recognizes the modern mechanism of red herring.   -- 
"That is why I have not said a single word so far about what is happening in Montenegro, and we are really very sad and recognize the modern mechanism of imposing something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue, where you declare someone bad in advance, where you declare him a provocateur,... read more
 
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a message in favour of vaccinations against COVID-19, describing it as “completely absurd and unjust” for some to be afraid to get the vaccine.  -  “It is completely absurd and unfair for some people to be afraid to get the vaccine. There is no reasonable excuse,” the Patriarch said in an interview with MEGA.  --  “I call again for everyone to be vaccinated without reservation in order to avoid serious dangers that will lead them to death. 
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The Ecumenical Patriarch said to the children: “It is very terrible to lose your parents in the war, but you can be proud of what they gave you, that is, a bright future in an independent and free country,” wishing them strength and courage to continue to support these ideals, for which their parents fought.
 

Serbian Patriarch receives Apostolic Nuncio

The Serbian Patriarch and the representative of the Holy See in an open talk, which is characterized by good intentions and understanding, exchanged views on a number of topics related to the problems and challenges that Christians face today in the world, especially in Europe.

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(USCCB) The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it is voluntarily dismissing a case against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) that it had brought after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights found that UVMC forced a nurse to participate in an elective abortion against the nurse’s religious beliefs.  The Church Amendment, enacted in 1973, prohibits recipients of various federal health program funding from discriminating against health care personnel because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions about abortions.  In the UVMC case, HHS found that UVMC not only engages in such discrimination, but on one occasion even deliberately deceived and coerced a nurse into assisting in an abortion.Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:
“The U.S. Department of Justice is acting in dereliction of its duty to enforce the plain meaning of federal law. It is hard to imagine a more horrific civil rights violation than being forced to take an innocent human life. HHS found that the University of Vermont Medical Center forced a nurse, against her known religious beliefs, to do just that. This is not only deeply wrong, but a violation of federal law. We call on the Administration to stand up for the basic dignity of our nation’s health care workers by reopening this case, and on Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act so that doctors and nurses can defend their own rights in court.”

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The leaders of the Russian Church in Ukraine are expanding their anti-ecclesiastical and divisive attack against the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on social networks.  --  A post has appeared on the Facebook page of the Russian Church in Ukraine calling on the faithful to an “online protest” against the Ecumenical Patriarch on social media.  --  In fact, specific instructions are given:

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On August 10, a source close to the leadership of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine reported this to Credo.Press.  -- Patriarch Bartholomew will hold a number of official meetings in Kyiv - with the president, prime minister and chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and will also attend the Independence Day Parade on August 24.

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Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine considers that there are four Local Churches close to the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.  --  In fact, in an interview on the Ukrainian website Liga.net, Epifaniy names these Churches. These are in particular the Churches of Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Albania.  --  Epifaniy believes that the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew may help speed up the process of recognition by these Churches: “This is a sign, first of all, that Ukraine is under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch comes to us as a co-brother. He is first among equals.

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On 21 July, Iranian President-elect Ayatollah Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi felicitated with Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City Pietro Parolin on Eid al-Adha in a phone call, saying that the greatest Muslim Eid that originated from Prophet Abraham (PBUH) could be considered as a "day of interaction among the Abrahamic religions" for consultation, reflection, and dialogue among all divine religions.   --  Emphasizing that the protection of human rights is the basis of Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, the President-elect said that according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions, Iran and the Vatican must stand with the oppressed people of the world against oppressing powers. As such, he highlighted the importance of consultation and dialogue among the Abrahamic religions for establishing genuine and lasting peace in the world and said that the Islamic Republic, as a religious democracy, welcomes any interaction and dialogue among the Abrahamic religions, especially Christianity.

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The Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out in his letter that the fragility of the natural environment is a result of the wrong choices and greed of man, who, he added, is still trying to understand the relationship between our very existence and the protection of our Home.  --   He recalled that, since the late 1980s, the Orthodox Church, head of which is the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has emphasized the need to protect the natural environment, highlighting the spiritual and moral dimension of the issue, in the context of man’s relationship with God and His Creation.

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NNA - The Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, received today at Dar Al-Fatwa, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, John X Yazigi, at the head of a delegation, in the presence of the Secretary-General of the Islamic-Christian Dialogue Committee in Lebanon, Dr. Mohammad Al-Sammak. 

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ZHIROVICHI, 25 June (BelTA) – There are attempts to break Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Belarus, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the clergy at the Holy Dormition Stavropegic Monastery in Zhirovichi on 25 June, BelTA has learned.  --   “Unfortunately, we are going through turbulent times. I will not go into details. Let me just remind you that against the background of this pandemic, as it was called, they tried to rock the boat here and, as you can see today, to break us. And not even subjugate. A possibility of disappearing as a state and a nation was looming,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.     ...read more
 
(LWI) - Meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican on 25 June, both the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Archbishop Dr. Panti Filibus Musa and Pope Francis expressed the hope that the 500th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 2030 can become common ground on which to strengthen the commitment of Lutherans and Catholics to unity and reconciliation.

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Metropolitans Elias Aude (Beirut), Elias Kfoury (Tyre and Sidon), Silouan Moussi (Mount Lebanon), Basilios Mansour (Akkar), Ephrem Kyriakos (Tripoli), Antonios El-Soury (Zahle) as well as His Grace, Bishop Constantine (Kayyal), the Abbot of the Monastery, all attended the meeting.

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The Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon (APECL) addressed a letter to H. Em. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, President of COMECE, expressing concerns about dangers posed by the current political, social, sanitary and economic crisis confronting the Lebanese population. According to the local Church, the severity of the situation endangers the country’s very own identity forged by “encounter, plurality and fraternity, making it the natural place for dialogue between the diversity of religious and cultural communities.” 

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish forces bombed the vicinity of a Christian village in Duhok province in the early hours of Tuesday morning, damaging several buildings, including the village church, locals have told Rudaw.  -- 
“It was around 2:40 am when the rockets hit near the village. As you can see, it is only 100 meters away,” Dawoud Yukhanna, a villager from Miska, told Rudaw, adding that “people were terrified.”

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(Peter Anderson) On Wednesday, April 28, Bishop Irinej of Bačka (Serbian Patriarchate) gave an important interview to the major Serbian newspaper Politika.  On May 1, the day before Pascha, the entire interview was posted on the website of the Serbian Patriarchate.  (link)  On May 5, the entire interview, translated into Russian, was posted on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate’s DECR.  (link)  It is not surprising that the DECR has posted the interview as it is very supportive of Moscow’s position in its current disputes with Constantinople.  In translating the interview into English, the Google translation tool works much better on the Russian version than on the original Serbian version.  The interview covers such subjects as the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the situation involving North Macedonia, and proposed legislation involving the control exercised by the Serbian Church over the Theology Faculty at the state-operated University of Belgrade.  Because of its importance, the interview should be read in its entirety.  However, in my report, I will focus on the Bishop’s remarks relating to the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch and primacy.  The Google translation of the Russian is as follows:

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The worst-affected countries last year were Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen. Outside Africa, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Haiti featured were among the 10 worst food crises last year.  By Robin Gomes   At least 155 million people faced crisis levels of food insecurity in 2020 because of conflict, extreme weather events and economic shocks linked in part to Covid-19.  This is an increase of 20 million over the previous year, 2019, when 135 million people in 55 countries and territories faced acute food crisis, which was an already record year for acute food insecurity. 
 
It was said that in western Ukraine, during the elections, it is quite popular to use the Church for PR.
 
On 3 May 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Fuad Hussein, met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States at the Vatican State Building.   --  The Minister expressed Iraq’s aspiration to activate the frameworks of cooperation with the Vatican in various fields, and in light of the distinguished relations between the two sides. He emphasized Iraq’s keenness to develop relations between Iraq and the Vatican to achieve the goals that serve
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In an address from the balcony of his limestone residence in the town of Bkerke, Lebanon, at the end of February, Lebanon’s senior Catholic prelate, Cardinal Bechara al-Rai, made it clear he believes his country is on the brink of collapse—and the key to rescuing it involves disarming Hezbollah. “There does not exist two or several states within one land,” Rai said before a crowd of hundreds of people, who had gathered despite the pandemic. “There does not exist two or more armies within one united state.”
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The problems faced by Christians in the Middle East in general, as well as how the local Christian churches can deal with them, were examined during today’s first visit of the Apostolic Nuncio of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Nicholas, who was received by Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa, at the Patriarchal Committee in Hamzaoui, the capital of Egypt.

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Decision of Moscow's Synod and other news

From media reports, it became known that on March 21, 2021, during the Divine Liturgy at the St. George Cathedral in Istanbul, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, co-served by the hierarchs of the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria, as well as a representative of one of the schismatic communities of Ukraine, who did not have canonical consecration, headed the ordination of Metropolitan Andreas confirmed by the publication of the corresponding photographs.

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The Russian Orthodox Church is seeking to deter its followers from carrying out their own exorcisms following a series of deaths and injuries that have cast a spotlight on the religious ritual.  --  Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads the Moscow Patriarchate's department of external relations, said that the church is drawing up a document that would set out rules for the procedure.
The church had warned against people carrying out exorcisms, which led to the deaths of at least two people in Russia in 2019, including a nine-year-old boy who had been gagged and whipped by his father in Yekaterinburg.

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In a Sunday Mass sermon, ’s top Christian leader, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, expressed his stance on recent calls for a forensic audit and also warned that obstruction of a government formation could lead to exploitation and domination of struggling Lebanese people.