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Source: Christian Today Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill called on Thursday for a deep cut in the “horrifyingly high” number of abortions, which he linked to a Western rejection of moral norms. “The idea of absolutely prioritising the value of free choice and of rejecting the priority of moral norms has become a slowly exploding bomb for Western civilisation,” he said in a speech to lawmakers. “If we could just cut in half the number of abortions, there would be steady and powerful demographic growth.” Russia’s population has been declining since the mid-1990s, hit by falling birth rates and life expectancy…

Source: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Halki Seminary Once the world’s leading Eastern Orthodox seminary, Halki was closed by the Turkish government 43 years ago. The US and religious freedom activists want it reopened. But Turkish officials have long said that won’t happen until Greece improves conditions for Turkish minorities living there.  Transcript of Video KIM LAWTON (@KimLawtonRandE), correspondent: The Theological School of Halki was once the world’s leading Eastern Orthodox seminary. But it was closed by the Turkish government in 1971. More than 43 years later, the US government and many faith-based activists around the world are still waging a campaign to…

Source: Eurasianet Patriarch Filaret heads the Kyiv Patriarchate, the branch of Ukrainian Orthodoxy that is loyal to President Petro Poroshenko’s administration. He recently sat down with EurasiaNet.org to discuss religious affairs in Ukraine and how the ongoing conflict between Kyiv and Moscow is extending into the spiritual sphere. In 1991, after Ukraine gained independence, then-Metropolitan Filaret Denysenko led a different kind of independence movement. At that time, he was the highest-ranking cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and he believed Orthodox bishoprics in Ukraine should secede from the Moscow Patriarchate and form an independent church entity. Though the…

Source: Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA has designated February 8, 2015 as Orthodox Scout Sunday. The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting is an official agency of the Assembly of Bishops. Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ: On Sunday, February 8, 2015, Scouts all over the United States will celebrate National Scout Sunday. Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognize the good work that is done by Scouts in our religious communities. The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people…

Source: MercatorNet by Michael Cook But some of the region’s bishops urge Christians to work with Muslims for free and tolerant society.  The Middle East is losing its ancient Christian heritage. When Iraq was invaded in 2003, 1.5 million Christians were living there. Now the figure is 400,000 and falling. The savagery of the Islamic State has accelerated the Christian exodus. Mosul, about 400 kilometres to the north of Baghdad, was captured by IS in June last year. Ten years ago it had about 60,000 Christians. Now there are none. IS gave them an ultimatum: conversion or death. For the first…

Source: Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops will send a delegation to the annual March for Life, Thursday, January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. The date marks the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Metropolitan Methodios will lead the delegation. He will be joined by Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Michael, and Bishop Demetrios Mokissos.  Metropolitan Tikhon will deliver the invocation at the annual Rose Dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington DC on the evening of the 22nd. On the evening before the March, Metropolitan Methodios will attend the National…

Source: Patheos By Jennifer Nahas What is best about the Orthodox Church—holding true to early teachings and traditions—also presents its greatest challenge: making sure tradition doesn’t trump appropriate treatment of others. While many prize the richness of the Orthodox Church, our traditions can lead to exclusion of some from fully participating in the community of Christ.  It’s a fine line, preserving ancient rites without marginalizing particular groups, within a patriarchal structure, and is ripe for discussion, particularly as it pertains to women. Orthodoxy arrived in the early 20th century, at a time when the United States experienced unprecedented social, economic,…

Source: The Arab Daily News By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D. It was simply a most glorious celebration of the Epiphany on the Jordan River today according to the Old Julian calendar. There were hundreds of priests, nuns and thousands of people from all walks of life coming to the precious site where over 2,000 years ago “…the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him…” (Matthew 3:13-17)  It was so wonderful to see many local people in addition to internationals for this grand celebration. His Beatitude Patriarch…

Source: Orthodox Church in America Sanctity of Life Sunday 2015 Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America: Dearly beloved, Today has been designated by the Orthodox Church in America as “Sanctity of Life Sunday,” a day on which we re-affirm our faithfulness to the eternal value of human life and re-commit ourselves to the defense of the lives of the unborn, the infirm, the terminally ill and the condemned. Our proclamation of life is offered in the context of a world in dismay at the…

Source: The National Nadine Marroushi Foreign Correspondent CAIRO // Ramy Iskander, a 38-year-old Evangelical Christian, spent most of his thirties going from one court to the next, looking to get a divorce. His now ex-wife was the one to ask for the separation nearly nine years ago, and Mr Iskander agreed, but Egypt’s strict laws on civil matters meant that getting the legal approval was no easy task. “I was born a free human being, and so I should be free to choose who I marry and divorce based on civil laws, not on the interpretations of a religious text…

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