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Concerns over Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics, Religion & Faith.
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Concerns over sentence which denies Ecumenical rights to Patriarch of Constantinople

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has expressed his concern following a recent verdict defining him as a “Turkish subject” spiritual guide only to the Greek Orthodox Christian minority in Turkey.

Experts speak of a “political” move which goes against the European programmes of the government, a dangerous precedent which may influence the fate of the country’s religious community.

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has expressed His “profound sorrow” at a sentence which June 26 contested the Ecumenical right of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, defining it as a Turkish body responsible for the worship of the Greek Orthodox minority in the country. According to the Court, His All Holiness Bartholomew I cannot bear the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” for the Orthodox world. Religious affairs experts in Turkey describe it as a “political” verdict, which raises “concerns” for the fate of religious minorities in the country.

In a statement published by the Patriarchate clarified that “the primacy of the Patriarchate has been an honorary, spiritual and historical orthodox title for over 17 centuries. In the Christian Orthodox world the primacy establishes the hierarchy and expresses a pure religious state, this has theological relevance”.

The Court sentence reaffirms a long established approach to the Patriarchate, the aim to downsize its role and its authority. Diplomats note that this position is contradictory for a country which has placed the European dimension as a milestone for its future. However, what greatly worries these analysts is the context in which the verdict came about. 

The court was called to examine the case of a Turkish Orthodox priest of Bulgarian origins, who the Holy Synod had removed from office, because of an “unfitting and inadequate behaviour”. In the sentencing, experts note, the Supreme Court came down on the side of the Patriarchate, but at the same time used the opportunity to pass down a political judgement on the juridical state of the Patriarchate.

The “primacy” feared by authorities and public opinion > In order to justify its verdict the Court turned to the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which classified the Patriarchate of Constantinople as a religious minority rather than “ecumenical”. In Orthodoxy each Church is autonomous for jurisdiction, but the Patriarch of Constantinople has long covered a role “primus inter pares”, enforced by the historical value of the Church of the ancient eastern Christian capital. The judges then clarified that, while it has the right to remain on Turkish soil, the Patriarchate “is subject to Turkish law”, while Turkey cannot give “special status” to the minority who live there.

The Orthodox and Catholic communities continue to lack juridical weight, the ministers of worship and bishops are still not recognised, seminaries remain closed and the Patriarch must be by law a Turkish citizen. The qualifying “ecumenical” linked to the Patriarchate irritates some political groups in Turkey as well as some sectors of public opinion who accuse the Fanar of wanting to build a foreign enclave in the country, or create extra-territorial rights similar to those enjoyed by Vatican City. Accusations which the Patriarchate has repeatedly denied, asking instead that its basic rights be recognised.

“Dangerous” precedent > The Supreme Court sentencing is an alarm bell given the precedents. In 1947 the same Court contested the right to property of minority religious foundations, as was set out by a 1933 ruling. That ruling legalized all of the properties bought to that date and allowed for the acquisition of new properties. With the 1947 sentence religious foundations were arbitrarily stripped of all property bought after 1933.


Corfu old quarter on world heritage list July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Architecture Greece, Greece Islands Ionian.
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The old quarter of Corfu has been added to the list of UNESCO’s world heritage monuments, as of Thursday.

According to the press office director of the Greek consulate in Sydney, Efthymios Aravantinos, the decision was taken unanimously in Christchurch, New Zealand by the 21-member UN world heritage committee, following a positive recommendation by UNESCO’s advisory organisation ICOMOS.

Corfu is the 17th Greek location to be added to UNESCO’s world cultural and natural heritage list, although its entry had experienced several obstacles since 1999, when the Greek request had been made initially.

Greek myth ‘Amphitrion’ opens Friday at OCC theater July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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The Orange Coast College Repertory Theatre Company will begin its summer season with a performance of French playwright Jean Giraudoux’s “Amphitrion 38,” opening Friday at the college.

The satirical look at the ancient Greek myth of Amphitrion will be directed by OCC student Samantha Wellen, and is recommended for older children and adults. The company, in its 22nd year of productions, has a history of experimental and progressive theater. “Amphitrion 38” will run at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and July 6 and 7.

The company is also set to present “The Comedy Pirates” on July 13 and 14, and the One-Act Play Festival, a collection of short plays by students and faculty, on Thursday through Saturday evenings, July 19 to 28. All shows are free and staged outdoors in the Fine Arts Amphitheater. Audiences are invited to picnic on the lawn before performances.

For more information, go to www.orangecoastcollege.edu  or call (714) 432-5640.

The Flame of Hope of the 2007 Special Olympic Games July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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The Flame of Hope of the 2007 Special Olympic Summer Games was lit in Athens, June 29. It was the first time China had gathered the holy flame in the birthplace of the Olympics.

flame_of_hope1.jpg  Maria Kotti, a Special Olympics athlete from Greece, acting as a High Priestess, raises the Flame of Hope before passing it to Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhou Taitong. Shanghai hosts the 2007 Special Olympics from October 2-11.

The ceremony began on the Pynx Hill near the Acropolis. A Greek High Priestess, played by Special Olympic athlete Maria Kotti, lit up the Flame of Hope for the 12th World Special Olympics in Shanghai on the Olympic cauldron at the Sacred Site of Pnyka near Acropolis in Athens on Friday. The High Priestess, who is also a Special Olympics athlete and will attend the Shanghai Special Olympics Games, passed the lighting Torch to the vice mayor of Shanghai Zhou Taitong.

flame_of_hope2.jpg  Vice Mayor of Shanghai and Executive Vice Chairman of the organising committee of the Shanghai 2007 Special Olympics Games Zhou Taitong (R) receives the Olympic torch from a Greek high priestess during a lighting ceremony at the hill of Pnyx in Athens June 29, 2007.

Zhou, in turn, gave the torch to Chinese policeman Lu Yingjie who raised it with one Chinese and one Greek Special Olympic athlete. Then the Law Enforcement Torch Run then began. It started from Pnyka, passing by Herod Atticus Odeon, Temple of Olympius Zeus, The Monument of the Unknown Soldier, Marble or Kallimarmaro, Panathinaikon Stadium and then arrived at the Chinese Embassy.

At the lighting ceremony, Joanna Despotopoulou, President of Special Olympics Hellas, said that 2,500 years ago, an ancient Greek disabled person once said that “I know I can”. The Special Olympics is a gathering of beauty, friendship and strength and it shows respect to human dignity. Zhou Taitong said that equality, acceptance and tolerance are the spirit of Secial Olympics. He said the Torch relay will run through five continents and then go to China.

“Let’s witness the great moment of the lighting ceremony of the Flame of Hope which is the symbol of civilizations of human beings,” said Zhou.

Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International, said that the lighting ceremony here reflected great convergence of East and West civilization. “Let’s celebrate the beauty of this moment,” he said.

The Mayor of Athens Mr. Nikitas Kaklamanis presented the Medal of the City to Mr. Zhou Taitong and Dr. Timothy Shriver, the Chairman of Special Olympics International.

Around one thousand people attended the lighting ceremony and the law enforcement Torch relay in Athens on Friday. The first special Olympic Games started from 1968. Among the 170 million intellectually disabled people worldwide, some 2.25 million people have participated in the special Olympic activities.

Greek President’s statement on Armenian genocide July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Politics.
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Greek President: genocide perpetrators should acknowledge the atrocity and apologize

Greek President Karolos Papoulias during his official visit in Armenia last month, accompanied by Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian visited Tsitsernakaberd to lay a wreath to the Memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims. Afterwards, he planted a fir at the Memory Alley and visited the Genocide Museum.

“The Armenian Genocide is a black page in the history of humanity and its perpetrators should acknowledge the atrocity, assume responsibility and apologize,” Mr Papoulias wrote in the Commemoration Book.

Museum Director Hayk Demoyan handed the Greek President a Memorable Medal and familiarized him with the exposition.

Greek operator On Telecoms signs agreement with Italtel July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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The Italian Group has signed an agreement with On Telecoms, an alternative Greek supplier for telecommunication, broadband and video services (triple-play), for the development of a multi-service VoIP platform and the provision of innovative services for domestic and business customers.

Three months from the presentation of the project, the first stage of implementation of the network, based on the Italtel Softswitch platform, has been completed and put into operation.

Italtel, a leading provider of solutions, products and services for Next-Generation IP Networks, announces the signature of an agreement with On Telecoms, a new Greek alternative telecommunications operator, for the implementation of its multiservice VoIP platform and the development of new multimedia services. On Telecoms offers its business and domestic customers broadband Internet access, innovative VoIP services, and IPTV.

The NGN (Next-Generation Network) solution supplied by Italtel was provided in the space of three months from project approval, enabling On Telecoms to complete the initial stage in the development of the VoIP platform for the region of Attica within the planned time schedule, and to launch its new generation triple-play services, comprising unlimited national and international calls, IPTV, video on demand, and super-fast Internet at 10Mb/s.

On Telecoms commenced its commercial operation last January, and it is led by a management team with vast knowledge of the Greek market, and a unique heritage of experience in the start-up of telecommunication operations offering triple-play, such as Fastweb in Italy, Hansenet in Germany and Bulldog in the U.K. The project for the development of an entirely IP network and the provision of Next-Generation Services (NGS) launched by On Telecoms is one of the largest of its type in Greece.

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Strange silence over CIA papers July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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Only the European Party has commented on new declassified CIA papers that appear to reveal that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger not only pushed for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus but gave military aid to Ankara for the attack.

The papers, detailing 30 years of covert activities by the CIA, were published this week and are known as the ‘Family Jewels’. They contain other gems such as the CIA’s hiring of three mafia mobsters as one of hundreds of attempts by the US to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The documents reveal that Kissinger, long suspected of at least turning a blind eye to the planned invasion in the Republic of Cyprus, may not only have given his tacit approval but apparently was pushing for it.

Complaining about “professional leakers” in the agency, he said: “In all the world, the things which hurt us the most are the CIA business and Turkey aid. The British can’t understand us. Callaghan says insiders there are routinely tapped. Our statements ought to indicate the gravity with which we view the situation.”

According to the news web site Raw Story, former intelligence sources confirmed he was referring to illegal financial aid and arms support to Ankara for the 1974 Turkish invasion in Cyprus.

A former CIA officer who was working in Turkey at the time suggested that Kissinger’s statement in the memorandum about Turkish aid likely meant the Ford administration, which following Kissinger’s advice, conducted business under the table with right-wing ultra-nationalist General Kenan Evren, who later dissolved Parliament and became the dictator of Turkey in a 1980 coup.

“The implication is that the US government was dealing directly with General Evren and circumventing the [democratically elected] Turkish government,” the former CIA officer told Raw Story. “This was authorised by Kissinger, because they were nervous about [Bulent] Ecevit, who was a Social Democrat.”

The former CIA official said military aid to Turkey had been stopped after the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus. “Technically… technically, but this would imply that the military and/or probably CIA aid continued even after the aid was cut off by Congress. This may substantively be what led to the overthrow eventually of Ecevit,” he said.

According to the former CIA officer, Turkey’s democratically elected President Ecevit had good relations with the Johnson administration, but the Nixon administration, where Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, had issues with Ecevit.

“I don’t remember now what all the issues were,” the CIA source said. “But I remember that the White House did not like Ecevit.”

Although the government could not be reached for comment yesterday and the main political parties were strangely silent about the allegations, European Party chairman Demetris Syllouris called for the House Committee examining the Cyprus File to ask for more information about people in Cyprus who had collaborated with the Americans in 1974 to facilitate the Turkish invasion.