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Ecumenical Patriarch's religious freedom is one of U.S. Congress' most highly supported issues

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.archons.org/news/detail.asp?id=521 Ecumenical Patriarch s religious freedom is one of U.S. Congress most highly supported issues Washington, D.C.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 23, 2011

      Ecumenical Patriarch's religious freedom is one of U.S. Congress' most
      highly supported issues

      Washington, D.C.

      --89 Senators and 291 Members Express Concern to President Obama--

      “With overwhelming numbers of Republicans and Democrats, the US Senate
      and the US House of Representatives separately expressed themselves to
      President Barack Obama regarding religious freedom for the spiritual
      head of the second largest Christian Church in the world, His
      All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. In total, 89 of the 100
      Senators and 291 of the 435 Members of the House signed a letter urging
      support for the head of the Sacred See that has flourished for over
      2,000 years since it was established by the Apostle Andrew, in what is
      today the country of Turkey,” said Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National
      Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew.

      A veteran, senior House Foreign Affairs Committee staff member indicated
      that he could not think of any letters in the House that received more
      than 291 signers in the 112th Congress and the only letters that may
      have come close involved Israel or Iran. The Staff Director of the House
      Foreign Affairs Committee, Yleem Poblete, said, “It is rare to witness
      this level of bipartisan support for a letter addressing a particular
      policy item. It is a testament to the importance that Members place on
      this issue."

      House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL),
      and Ranking Member, Howard Berman (D-CA), initiated the letter signed by
      291 Members and sent to President Obama on November 22. Senators Bob
      Menendez (D-NJ) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), authored and circulated for
      signature the letter signed by 89 Senators, including the Senate Foreign
      Relations Committee’s Chairman, John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member,
      Richard Lugar (R-IN) and it was sent to President Obama on November 21.

      “Since the formation of the modern Republic of Turkey, the government
      has interfered in the canonical election of the Ecumenical Patriarch,
      confiscated 90% of its properties and forcibly closed its only local
      seminary, the Halki School of Theology, actions and policies which have
      constrained the religious freedom of the Spiritual Center of the world’s
      300 million Orthodox Christians, located in Istanbul,” said Limberakis.
      On a positive note, Dr. Limberakis expressed gratitude to the government
      which has very recently taken positive steps to address the longstanding
      religious freedom deficit by announcing the return of confiscated
      properties, among several other policies shifts.

      “Despite these oppressive conditions, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
      who speaks eight languages, was recognized by Time Magazine as one of
      the world's 100 most influential people. He was also the first in the
      world to produce an interfaith document that included Muslim religious
      leaders condemning the 9/11 attacks on America as anti-religious
      actions. His All-Holiness was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal,
      an honor given previously to George Washington, Winston Churchill, Pope
      John Paul, and relatively few other leaders,” said Limberakis.

      “The extraordinary esteem within which Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
      is held in Washington is reflected in these record numbers. Of the
      thousands of letters sent from Capitol Hill in the 112th Congress to the
      Obama Administration, regarding any subject, virtually none received
      this overwhelming bi-partisan Congressional support,” said the
      coordinators of this Order of Saint Andrew effort, Andy Manatos and Mike

      His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the 270th direct
      successor of the Apostle Andrew. The Apostle Andrew's brother, the
      Apostle Peter, has as his 265th direct successor Pope Benedict XVI. The
      Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch were bishops in the same Christian
      Church until the great schism in 1054 when the State Church of the Roman
      Empire was divided into the Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin)
      Churches, which later became the Orthodox Christian and Catholic
      Churches, respectively.

      For more information, please contact Mike Manatos at 202-393-0091.
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