Friday, May 18, 2007

Ensure Survival of Ecumenical Patriarch - Rally Your U.S. Congress to Support Bill for Religious Freedom

On May 3, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D - NY) introduced House Resolution 373 that urges Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. The orignial cosponsors for this resolution are Gus Billirakis, Henry Brown Jr, James McGovern, Michael McNulty, Frank Pallone, John Sarbanes, Zachary Space and Diane Waton.

The legislation is in response to Turkey's continued refusal to recognize the Patriarch as "Ecumenical", who is the leader of nearly 300 million Orthodox Christians world wide.

Turkey, which only recognizes the Orthodox's leader as the leader of the community in Constantinople, also requires by law that the patriarch be a Turkish citizen, all of whom have been ethnic Greeks since 1923. As the ethnically Greek population has been suffocated out of the country due to the illegal seizure of property since the 1950s and 60s, this stipulation essentially ensures that the Patriarchate will disappear from the seat of Orthodox Christianity unless Turkey amends the law intended to repress religious freedom.

The legislation urges Turkey to grant the Ecumenical Patriachate approprite international recognition, rights to train clergy of all nationalities, and respect human rights and property rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

It should be noted that the very message communicated by this resolution was the very message delivered by Pope Benedict in his recent visit to Turkey.

ALL Greek Americans and those concerned about religious freedom need to contact local representative to cosponsor and support H.RES. 373.

To contact by phone dial (202) 224-3121 and ask the operator for a local congressman's office.

To contact by email visit, enter you state and zip, and fill out the electronic form of your name and address to submit your message.

Many thanks to for updating the community about this important effort.


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