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Επίσκεψη Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου στην Πολωνία

Επίσκεψη στην Πολωνία πραγματοποιεί από εχθές και μέχρι την Παρασκευή 20 Αυγούστου, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, προσκεκλημένος της Πολωνικής Ορθόδοξης Αυτοκέφαλης Εκκλησίας.
Την πρώτη ημέρα της επίσκεψής του, πραγματοποιήθηκε πανηγυρική δοξολογία στον καθεδρικό ναό της Αγίας Μαρίας της Μαγδαληνής στη Βαρσοβία, παρουσία του Έλληνα Πρέσβη στην Πολωνία κ. Γαβριήλ Κοπτσίδη.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at Maria Magdalene church

Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης σε σύντομο χαιρετισμό του ευχαρίστησε τον Μητροπολίτη Βαρσοβίας και πάσης Πολωνίας Σάββα, για την «αδελφική» -όπως την χαρακτήρισε φιλοξενία του.
Σήμερα ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος θα συναντηθεί με τον Πρόεδρο της πολωνικής Βουλής, Grzegorz Schetyna, ενώ στο πρόγραμμα περιλαμβάνεται και επίσκεψη στο όρος Γκραμπάρκα, όπου θα συμμετάσχει στις εκδηλώσεις για τους εορτασμούς της Μεταμορφώσεως. Το όρος Γκραμπάρκα θεωρείται ο κατεξοχήν τόπος λατρείας και προσκυνήματος των ορθοδόξων της Πολωνίας.
Την Παρασκευή ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης θα επισκεφθεί το Λούμπλιν, όπου σε τελετή στο Καθολικό Πανεπιστήμιο της πόλης – Πανεπιστήμιο που στο παρελθόν δίδαξε θεολογία ο Πάπας Ιωάννης Παύλος ο Β’- θα ανακηρυχθεί επίτιμος διδάκτορας.
Όπως σημειώνει ο πολωνικός Τύπος, ο τίτλος του επίτιμου διδάκτορα απονέμεται σε «έναν εξαιρετικά ενεργό θρησκευτικό ηγέτη, εκπρόσωπο της ειρήνης και της συμφιλίωσης, της θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας, της αξιοπρέπειας και των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, καθώς και της φροντίδας για την προστασία του περιβάλλοντος».

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visits Poland

His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch started a visit to Poland on Monday.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at Maria Magdalene Church in Warsaw

While in Poland Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will visit Warsaw, Lublin and the Holy Mountain of Grabarka to attend the Transfiguration feast celebrations in the sanctuary, PAP was told by spokesperson for the Polish Orthodox Church father Henryk Paprocki.
The Transfiguration is the biggest Orthodox feast in Poland. Pilgrimages to Grabarka, the main Orthodox cult site in Poland, date back to 1710.
On Tuesday Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will meet with Sejm Speaker Grzegorz Schetyna.
On Friday he will receive an honorary doctorate of the John Paul II Catholic Lublin University during a ceremony in Lublin.
There are from 550 to 600 thousand Orthodox faithful in Poland, mainly in the Podlasie northeastern region.
(PAP) 

New impetus for Greek-Turkish relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A new impetus for Greek-Turkish relations was given yesterday following a letter by Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed to his Turkish counterpart, responding to prior correspondence between the two leaders.

The Greek side proposes the launch of a series of talks on the issue of the continental shelf, within a specific time limit and the option for both sides to resort to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in case of a dead-end.
Papandreou deems the Turkish proposal of establishing a High-level Council of Cooperation important and invites Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an official visit to Greece, sometime before summer, in order to set a time framework.
Moreover, the Greek Premier highlights the need for de-escalating tension over the Aegean Sea and stresses that military activity in the area must be avoided since it jeopardizes security and fuels tension. Referring to the pressure exercised on bilateral relations due to immigration flows’ movement, Papandreou reiterates the necessity for Turkey to abide by the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol (2001).
The premier concludes by expressing Greece’s support for Turkey’s European perspective, provided that the latter honours its obligations towards the Greek minority in Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Turkey Bilateral Relations & Greek-Turkish Rapprochement
[Photo from Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul, Turkey, October, 2009]

The Patriarch on “60 minutes”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was featured on the CBS news programme “60 Minutes,” on December 20. Patriarch Bartholomew was invited to give his account on the history of the Christian Orthodox Church, and its development in modern times.

The Patriarch spoke of the restrictions posed by the Turkish authorities to himself and the functions of the Patriarchate, and objected to being – himself and the Greek minority – “treated as second class Turkish citizens.”

Commenting on the Patriarch’s statements, Turkey’s Foreign Minister labelled the comments as “extremely unfortunate.”
Following the remark, the Greek Foreign Ministry issued an announcement according to which “the Patriarch is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians who constitute the second largest Christian Church in the world.
It is a leader recognised for his wisdom and modesty, but also for his steadfast support over Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Whenever the disappointment of a leader of such calibre is illustrated with such clarity it is everyone’s duty, let alone of those responsible for the Patriarchate and the Greek minority in Turkey, to take heed.”

Greek Prime Minister’s First Trip Abroad

» In Istanbul

On his first trip abroad to attend the informal meeting of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Istanbul, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, held talks, on October 9, with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglou and discussed all issues concerning Greek-Turkish relations. Papandreou pointed out to Erdogan that, “we have proved that we want good relations with Turkey and we support its European course,” adding however, that “Turkey must also take the steps that Europe requires so that its accession course can move forward.” Earlier, in a message to the Turkish people, Papandreou had stressed that they “know that I am always honest with them. Honest and open in the positive prospects we have in cooperating, but also honest in talking about the real problems we still have between our two countries.” Regarding Cyprus, the prime minister said that a solution should be found -a just, European solution for a unified Cyprus, free of dependencies on its motherlands, free of occupation troops, divisions and walls that have no place in the European Union.

Regarding bilateral relations, the PM said that the two countries must respect borders and territorial integrity and this would be the basis of a durable and strong good neighbourly relationship. Papandreou made these statements during his meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, according to the premier with his wisdom and action has promoted Orthodoxy worldwide, championing objectives such as protection of the environment and ecology.

» OSCE CiO Welcomes Turkey-Armenia Accords

The Chairman-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Greece’s premier and foreign minister George Papandreou welcomed the signing of an agreement between Armenia and Turkey for the normalisation of their relations, which was signed on October 10, following months of Swiss-mediated talks.

» SEECP Meeting: A roadmap for Accession

Addressing the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Istanbul, Prime Minister and FM George Papandreou stressed that the Southeastern Europe and the Balkans can contribute to a new dynamic in Europe.

“A new dynamic in enlarging the European Union […] and creating a socially just Europe […] with a greater role in the world.” Papandreou said that a revised version of the so-called Thessaloniki Agenda – the basis of the Greek Presidency in the EU in 2003 – and a roadmap for accession of the rest of the Western Balkans with a specific date can contribute to this process.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: PM and FM Papandreou’s speech at the informal meeting of FMs

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Lodges Demarche

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew announced on Monday that he had lodged a demarche with the Iranian government for the release of Greek journalist Iason Athanasiadis. The Patriarchate’s relations with Islamic countries are considered to be good, especially with Iran, which Bartholomew visited in 2002. Google News: News items Athanasiadis’ arrest
Athanasiadis

Theological School of Halki

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Turkish Dailies Hürriyet (April 18) and Today’s Zaman (April 27) report on the Theological School of Halki (Istanbul, Turkey), Ecumenical Patriarchate’s theology and primary seminary, closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971.  Since 1971, there have been attempts to reopen the Halki Theological Seminary. The debate over the potential opening up of the Seminary is, while not these days at the top of the public agenda, a topic which will clearly come up often in the near future.   In fact, it most recently came up during the visit to Turkey by US President Barack Obama (April 7).