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Source: Greek Reporter by Catherine Tsounis “The Power of the Saints and Martyrs have saved Christianity,” said His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, in his historic speech before more than five hundred people on Friday evening, December 5, 2014, at the Feast Day Vespers of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Flushing, New York. “During the WWII Occupation of Greece, people believed in the Virgin Mary and the saints. Cyprus is living a drama, with part of the island called the Katehomena (Occupied) and thousands of refugees in their own country. This is chaos. People are living a difficult…

Source: The Hurriyet Daily News by Cansu Çamlıbel ISTANBUL The Turkish government can ‘only benefit from recognizing the ecumenical status of the Patriarchate’ a senior official from the Fener Orthodox Patriarchate says in an exclusive interview Stopping resistance to the title “Ecumenical Patriarchate” and reopening the Halki Seminary can only elevate the reputation of Turkey as a democratic nation, according to a senior official from the Fener Orthodox Patriarchate. “The ‘ecumenical’ status is a spiritual and religious jurisdiction. It is not legal or secular,” John Chryssavgis, who holds the title of Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Throne, told Hürriyet. “The Ecumenical Patriarch has…

Source: Commonweal by John Garvey I have served as a priest in the Orthodox Church in America for twenty-two years. The parishes where I’ve served have been varied. For ten years I was the pastor of an Albanian Orthodox church in Queens, during the period when Communism fell in Albania. The parish population doubled, with an influx of immigrants who were eager to be part of the church after having been denied any opportunity to worship by the world’s most fiercely atheistic regime. My second church was a more typical OCA parish on Long Island, most of whose members were lifelong…

Invite a friend to attend Church with you in this Season of Preparation for Christmas and the Epiphany.  Source: Episcopalian Diocese of New Jersey  Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Emmanuel which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Advent is upon us. What does this mean to you? In a wonderful volume of seasonal reflections titled Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas (Farmington, PA: The Plough Publishing House of the Bruderhof Foundation, 2001) the editors write: “Though Advent (literally ‘arrival’) has been observed for centuries as a time to contemplate…

Source: St. Catherine’s Vision “A Call for the Rejuvenation of the Ministry of the Ordained Deaconess” has been published by St. Catherine’s Vision, an international, Pan-Orthodox fellowship of Orthodox women theologians and other lay servant-leaders. The document is addressed to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Secretariat of the Great and Holy Council. It is being widely distributed for prayerful reflection by hierarchs, clergy and laity. “A Call for the Rejuvenation of the Ministry of the Ordained Deaconess” affirms that the ministry of ordained deaconesses is part of the Church’s tradition. The rejuvenation of the order can be of great benefit in many places within the Church…

Source: The Algemeiner JNS.org – Israeli Arab Christians in Jaffa marked the beginning of the Christmas season in the Holy Land with an annual Christmas tree lighting celebration earlier this week. At the gathering in the ancient port city adjacent to Tel Aviv, men dressed up as Santa Claus met children, sang Christmas carols and lit fireworks. Orthodox Christian leaders also addressed the crowd of Jewish, Muslim and Christian onlookers, using the occasion to promote unity between the three faiths. “This is the best example for all the citizens of Israel to see how people can do things that we can…

Source: The St. Augustine Record The second annual Blessing of the Animals will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine, 41 St. George St. It is the conviction of the Orthodox Christian faith that all creation is holy. His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, said, “Everything that lives and breathes is sacred and beautiful in the eyes of God.” The Greek Orthodox Church believes it is the responsibility of human beings to love, honor and care for God’s earth, that he created and blessed every creature that swims in its oceans,…

Source: IOCC Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — From comforting survivors of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, to helping Midwest families clean out their homes after last summer’s devastating floods, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been responding to the needs of disaster victims across the US for more than a decade through the IOCC Emergency Response Network, or Frontline, as well as the support of local Orthodox Christian parishes in outreach to disaster-affected communities. IOCC’s track record of readiness in times of disasters and emergencies has earned it a position as the newest member of the nation’s largest network of disaster…

Source: The National by Alan Philps When Pope Francis gave his first speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday, the members were aware that he was not going to restrict himself to praise in the manner of John Paul II, who had called the European Union a “beacon of civilisation”. But still many were surprised at his harsh tone. The EU had lost its way and replaced its ideals with “bureaucratic technicalities”. Europe was a haggard old grandmother, no longer “fertile and vibrant”, and had allowed a generation of young people to fester in unemployment. Returning to a favourite theme, he…

Source: NBC News An Orthodox priest rings a set of bells after baptizing a baby on board a train carriage that operates as a mobile church, bringing religion to remote parts of Russia. The Doctor Voino-Yasenetsky Saint Luka train travels annually to distant settlements in the Krasnoyarsk and Khakassia regions of Siberia. Alongside the mobile church, the train also transports medical personnel and equipment, offering free consultations to about 200 patients a day in places where hospitals and clinics are scarce. First published May 28, 2014.

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