Orthodox World News

Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church, Friday, October 21st, 2016. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines this week.

  • Hundreds gather in London for Orthodox Cathedral Consecration
  • First Complete Biography of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was just released
  • Have the Christian Refugees been abandoned by the United Nations and the U.S.?

Russian Orthodox Consecrate Orthodox Church in London

First Up, hundreds of people including the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prince Michael of Kent gathered in London’s Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints to attend a historic service conducted by the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church.

According to the patriarch’s press service, approximately one thousand people attended the ceremonies on Sunday, which included the consecration of London’s largest Orthodox Christian Cathedral, and the Divine Liturgy commemorating the 300th anniversary of the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the British Isles.

The event marked the first time in 25 years that the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church visited the country. After the Service, Patriarch Kirill addressed the people who gathered for festivities and stressed, “The London community has mirrored the most difficult time in the history of our country and our church”.

The Patriarch presented the Cathedral with an ancient icon of the Mother of God and awarded Archbishop Elisey of the Sourozh Diocese, the Holy Cross and Pangaea, crafted to mark the 1000th anniversary of the death of Saint Prince Vladimir, the Baptizer of Russia.

More than 200,000 Orthodox Christians live in the UK.

Biography of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is released

And next up, from NEW YORK – The first complete biography on His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, titled “Bartholomew: Apostle and Visionary,” has just been released, in time for the 25th Anniversary of His elevation to the venerable Patriarchal Throne of Constantinople.

Published by Thomas Nelson Publishing, the book was authored by Fr. John Chryssavgis.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, has been the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians for an unprecedented 25 years, and continues to build bridges across all faiths and cultures from Constantinople, a city of central importance to Christian history and the development of Christian doctrine.

World renown personalities and friends of His All-Holiness including, Jane Goodall, Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict, former Vice President Al Gore, Vice President Joe Biden and ABC News-anchor George Stephanopoulos have made heartfelt contributions to the book.

Have the Christian Refugees been abandoned?

And next up, Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, writes that the current administration needs to make certain American aid reaches Christians, Yazidis and other displaced groups facing persecution from ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Shea, an “international human-rights lawyer, works extensively for the advancement of individual religious freedom and other human rights in U.S. foreign policy as it confronts an ascendant Islamic extremism.”

The U.N.’s next secretary-general, António Guterres, says persecuted Christians shouldn’t be resettled in the West and six months ago, Secretary of State John Kerry officially designated the Islamic State as “responsible for genocide”

Now, although the United Nations, along with its parent organization has never even acknowledged the genocide exists, brings forth the question: Why does the Obama administration still entrust the survival of these people-and so much valuable American aid- to them.

The State Department says it is helping religious minorities who have fled, along with millions of other displaced Syrians and Iraqis, primarily through the United Nations. Since 2012, it has sent over half of $5.6 billion in humanitarian aid earmarked for Syrians to the U.N.

Yet the U.N.ʼs lead agency for aiding refugees, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), marginalizes Christians and others targeted by ISIS for eradication in two critical programs: refugee housing in the region and Syrian refugee-resettlement abroad.

For instance, the Obama administrationʼs expanded refugee program for Syria depends on refugee referrals from the UNHCR. Yet Syriaʼs genocide survivors have been consistently underrepresented as data has shown that out of 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, only 68 were Christians and 24 were members of the Yazidi sect. That means 0.5% were Christians, though they have long accounted for 10% of Syriaʼs population.

Asked about these numbers at a Sept. 28 Senate hearing, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Simon Henshaw asserted that only 1% of Syriaʼs registered refugees are Christians.

How to square that with the estimated half a million Syrian Christians that have fled, a quarter of that community, leads to why the current administration is still choosing to send earmarked funds to the UN. For the complete story log on to myocn.net “Orthodox News” under the “read” tab.

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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. Wishing you a Blessed Week, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.

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Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy,…
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