The latest interview as part of our series of "Conversations with our Bishops" is now available for you to hear online or download. Bishop Daniil of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia offers his reflections on the Assembly.
"Conversations With Our Bishops" is a series of audio interviews of the Assembly's fifty-three member hierarchs by Archpriest Josiah Trenham (proïstamenos of St Andrew Church in Riverside, CA and director of "Patristic Nectar Publications") for the purpose of providing a broad swath of perspectives to the Church-at-large on the significance and work of the Assembly.
This afternoon, President Obama made a statement from the Briefing Room on the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
So our hearts are broken today -- for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
NEW YORK – Upon hearing the horrible news of the monstrous mass shooting in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which caused the tragic death of 26 people, most of which are reportedly children, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America immediately contacted Fr. Peter Karloutsos, the priest of the nearby Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Danbury, Connecticut. He expressed to him his deep pain and great concern about this terrible incident and its devastating effects on the local community, and offered any support on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
NEW YORK – The memory and the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was honored and celebrated by Orthodox Christians yesterday Dec. 6, in churches across the country and the world. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, as he has done for the last 11 years, led the annual prayer and memorial service in the area of the World Trade Center near the site where the small historic church of St. Nicholas stood for more than 80 years before it was completely destroyed on September 11, 2001.
The New York Times published an article on the environmental work of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, entitled, 'Orthodox Leader Deepens Progressive Stance on Environment,' written by Marlise Simons. The article can be read in its entirety below.
Orthodox Leader Deepens Progressive Stance on Environment
by Marlise Simons
At a conference near Istanbul last June, the chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall spoke about the endangered habitat of what she called "our closest relatives." Underlining the evolutionary link, she described her encounter with a senior male ape who had a "beautiful white beard."
The man with the long white beard was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians. Fortunately, he is known for his easy, affable manner, and he joined the laughter that followed. But his commitment to environmental activism is deeply serious, earning him the nickname the Green Patriarch. He has preached that caring for the environment is a religious imperative, and for more than a decade, he has made a point of bringing together theologians and scientists like Dr. Goodall for debates and briefings.
This year's reports of record melting of the earth's ice sheets and extreme droughts have given a new urgency to Bartholomew's messages about the degrading natural world. While economists and politicians prescribe more growth and consumption to overcome economic crises, the patriarch insists that the real crisis is cultural and spiritual, and can be overcome only by moving away from rampant materialism.
All human beings, he has said, should draw a distinction "between what we want and what we need."
In September, he published a strongly worded encyclical calling on all Orthodox Christians to repent "for our sinfulness" in not doing enough to protect the planet. Biodiversity, "the work of divine wisdom," was not granted to humanity to abuse it, he wrote; human dominion over the earth does not mean the right to greedily acquire and destroy its resources. He singled out "the powerful of this world," saying they need a new mind-set to stop destroying the planet for profit or short-term interest.
Other religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama and the archbishop of Canterbury, have also called for responsible stewardship of the environment. But Bartholomew has gone further than most; some theologians call his stance revolutionary.
"Traditionally in Christianity, sin was what you did to other humans," said Kallistos Ware, a prominent Orthodox theologian based in Britain, "but Bartholomew insisted that what you do to the animals, the air, the water, the land can be sinful, not just folly, and that was quite a change."
Aides say that Bartholomew's embrace of environmental issues is part of his agenda to modernize a deeply conservative church that can seem distant and insular, with its focus on long Byzantine rituals and mysticism. Speaking in defense of nature as a creation of God fits church teachings, and perhaps just as crucial, his aides say, it can also transcend the rivalries and nationalist rifts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As a federation of 15 independent national churches, it lacks the central authority of, say, the Vatican.
Still, Bartholomew's seat, established 1,700 years ago, holds primacy among the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians. As "first among equals" in the church, he acts as convener and can set the agenda for discussion.
Not all church prelates are inspired by his efforts to enlighten the faithful on the environment. "The patriarch is going against the current in much of Orthodoxy," said the Rev. John Chryssavgis, an archdeacon of the church and adviser on environmental issues. "He has to preach and promote this constantly."
Aboard a ferry steaming toward Istanbul, Father Chryssavgis pointed out a sprawling church-owned building perched atop of the island of Buyukada. A former orphanage, it was seized by the Turkish government but returned to the church recently. Now empty and in disrepair, it will become an interfaith study center for the environment if Bartholomew has his way.
"He wants a permanent institution," Father Chryssavgis said. "When he passes on, there may not be the same concern for the environment."
The impact of the patriarch's many sermons and conferences is difficult to gauge. There has been wide interest in a new book, "Greening the Orthodox Parish," said Frederick Krueger, its American editor. Subtitled "A Handbook for Christian Ecological Practice" and with a preface by Bartholomew, it covers theology, special liturgies and prayers as well as science papers and practical advice.
Numerous Orthodox monasteries and churches in Eastern Europe and the United States have switched to solar energy in recent years.
Among them is the Chrysopegi monastery on the Greek island of Crete, where the nuns use the environmental texts of the patriarch and other theologians in their teachings. "
More and more young people are coming to our courses," Mother Theocheni, the abbess of the monastery, said at the conference at Halki, near Istanbul. "They come to find meaning. Many seem to find inspiration in ecology. It's been growing fast for the last 10 years."
Saint Sophia Cathedral's 15th Annual Christmas Musicfest under the Byzantine Dome - "Rejoice !" will be held on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Zondervan Author to Appear on FOX News special: “Fox News Reporting: Countdown to Doomsday” hosted by Bill Hemmer.
Father Mark Arey, priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, recently translated the book of Revelation from the original Greek text for use in the newly released graphic novel, The Book of Revelation (Zondervan). Fr. Arey was interviewed extensively about the battle of Good vs. Evil in the book of Revelation for special by FOX religion correspondent Lauren Green. Several images, illustrated by Chris Koelle, will be shown during the segment.
The show is scheduled to air on FOX: 11/21 @ 9pm, 12am EST, 11/23 @ 9pm, 12am, 4am EST, 11/25 @ 10pm, 1am, 4 am EST.
The Book of Revelation is designed to give the text a visual resonance and physical vividness that makes it more real than ever before. This telling of Revelation is intended to have an immediate visceral impact, similar to the impact it would have had on its first and second century audiences, most of whom would have experienced it by hearing it told aloud. The Apostle John’s expressive descriptions have been transformed into powerful imagery that makes the text come to life for contemporary readers.
Fr. Arey is a priest in the in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and provided, with the late Fr. Sevastiades, an original translation from the original Greek. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos, who played Moe in the latest Three Stooges film, served as a producer on the project, while Matt Dorff crafted the adaptation and was the artistic director, helping to balance the text and imagery, created by renowned Christian artist Chris Koelle.
NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced today a grant of $150,000 to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to assist in providing emergency assistance for the people of Greece who are especially vulnerable as a result of the continuing economic crisis, austerity measures and a collapsing health system. The $150,000 grant to IOCC, will be directed at efforts to assist the elderly, children and large families with basic necessities for living as the economic situation deteriorates and winter approaches. The support comes from funds already collected by the Archdiocese Relief Fund for the People of Greece.
Archbishop affirms prayers and assistance
NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo announces the Signing of Final Agreement on St. Nicholas Church at Archdiocesan Council Meeting
NEW YORK – The Governor of the State of New York Andrew Cuomo, announced yesterday at the Archdiocesan Council meeting, that the final agreement on the rebuilding of St. Nicholas was signed the day before, Oct. 18, 2012 and that the Port Authority would begin construction immediately hoping to complete the foundation in a year and then turn the site over to the Church.
Governor Cuomo made the announcement during the joint luncheon of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the National Philoptochos Board, which had both convened for their first meeting of the 2012-2014 term in the New York Hilton.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed Governor Cuomo and thanked him for being "instrumental" in the process and for "helping St. Nicholas Church be resurrected." The Archbishop talked about the transformation of the World Trade Center and said that "when St. Nicholas Church is completed it will be a place of praying, a place of comfort, openness and reconciliation where the relatives of the almost three thousand victims of 9/11 can come and light a candle." The Archbishop offered to the Governor a symbolic gift, a sterling silver hand-made cross, as "a symbol of sacrifice and love, of loss and gain, of death and resurrection."
Governor Cuomo accepted the symbolic gift on behalf of all the people of the State of New York and after the announcement praised the perseverance of the Greek Orthodox Church and community and said: Let me say this on the Church of St. Nicholas though, I applaud you for what you did – the Archbishop has been very kind, (but) I am only doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am doing my job and what I was elected to do. But the fight that you waged for St. Nicholas Church, that went over a decade is remarkable. You faced every obstacle you were told "no", time after time, after time. You fought the bureaucracy numerous governors, numerous heads of the Port Authority and you wouldn't take "no" for an answer and you kept coming back and kept coming back... and it is such a beautiful story of the Greek community. Organizing, mobilizing, refusing to give up, refusing to loose. And, what was most beautiful, it wasn't for you, it wasn't about a monetary gain, it wasn't because someone was going to be advanced, it was the fundamental belief of the Greek community, which is about community and faith and philanthropy.
For photos visit the Gallery: http://photos.goarch.org/main.php?g2_itemId=7340
September 24, 2012 (Baltimore, MD) Hiba, 5, clings fearfully to her mother's dress round the clock, and wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Ever since Sami, 4, and his brother Rana, 2, fled Homs with their mother, loud sounds elicit screams and send them diving for cover under tables and beds. The violence that has engulfed Syria is taking a heavy toll on its children. They make up more than half of the 260,000 Syrian refugees pouring into neighboring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, according to United Nations estimates. Many arrive with nothing, not even the most basic belongings. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is attending to the immediate needs of these young refugees and their families with the distribution of emergency relief items such as health kits, infant supplies and bedding.