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Greek Orthodox celebrate Jan. 1; Patriarch thanks gov’t

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=130623 Greek Orthodox celebrate Jan. 1; Patriarch thanks gov’t Greek Orthodox Patriarch
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2008
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      http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=130623

      Greek Orthodox celebrate Jan. 1; Patriarch thanks gov’t

      Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew thanked the
      Turkish government yesterday for granting
      permission for religious services to be held at
      the Church of St. Nicholas in Demre this year.

      Reviewing the year 2007 at a New Year's reception
      after a religious service at the Fener Greek
      Patriarchate, Patriarch Bartholomew listed the
      Ministry of Culture's permission for religious
      services to be held at the Church of St. Nicholas
      among the important events of the year for Orthodox Christians.

      The Church of St. Nicholas in ancient Myra --
      modern Demre -- near the city of Antalya is a
      ruined Byzantine church containing the tomb of
      St. Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration for the
      Santa Claus figure, as well as many fine mosaics and murals.

      The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
      allocated YTL 40,000 for restoration on the
      Church of St. Nicholas following a visit to the
      church by Culture and Tourism Minister Ertug(rul Günay on Oct. 29.

      The urgent work includes repairs on the roof, the
      building of a path to protect the marble at the
      entrance, repair of the pumps that remove
      rainwater and the protection of the church's
      paintings from sunlight and humidity. While the
      urgent restoration is scheduled to be completed
      in a short period of time, planning for the long-term projects will continue.

      Bartholomew said he had been to Ankara twice in
      2007 to discuss the Greek Orthodox community's problems with Turkish officials.

      The Greek Orthodox community has been seeking
      permission to hold religious services in some
      remote areas of the country. The Orthodox
      community has come under intense pressure from
      Turkish nationalist elements. The patriarchal
      seminary of Halki in the Princes' Islands has
      been closed on government orders since 1971.

      Patriarch Bartholomew also mentioned efforts to
      draw attention to the world's environmental
      problems. As part of the Religion, Science and
      the Environment (RSE) movement -- originally
      conceived in 1988 on the Isle of Patmos at a
      meeting of environmental and religious leaders --
      Patriarch Bartholomew attended the 2007 Arctic
      Symposium in Greenland Sept. 6-13.

      The patriarch has gained a reputation as a
      prominent environmentalist, putting the support
      of the Patriarchate behind various international
      environmental causes. This has earned him the
      nicknames "the Green Patriarch" and "the Green
      Pope" in addition to various awards.

      Among the significant events of the last year the
      patriarch listed his address in January to the
      Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on the
      necessity of interfaith dialogue. In that speech
      Bartholomew had stressed the importance of dialogue with the Muslim world.

      "As we say in Turkey, we have with our Muslim
      brothers not only an academic dialogue but that
      of living together side-by-side," he had said in his Jan. 22 speech last year.

      02.01.2008
      YONCA POYRAZ DOG(AN I.STANBUL
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