This Week in Orthodoxy, August 28, 2015

This Week in Orthodoxy, August 28, 2015


Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris.

These are some of the stories making headlines this week:

  • St. Vladimir’s Seminary to honor Metropolitans at an annual lecture next month.
  • Istanbul’s Greek community wishes to remove patriarchs’ graves from Greek Orthodox cemetery.
  • The Islamic State continues its rampage in Syria with kidnappings, beheadings, and the destruction of historial antiquities including the St. Elian Monastery.

Segment 1: News from Around the Globe

St. Vladimir’s Seminary Honors Metropolitans

First up, St. Vladimir’s Seminary is honoring Metropolitans Tikhon and Joseph at the Third Annual Meyendorff Memorial Lecture on September 14.

The seminary will honor His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America and His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. At an Academic Convocation, the Board of Trustees and faculty will bestow “Doctor of Divinity” degrees on both hierarchs.

Metropolitan Tikhon serves as the seminary’s President and chairs its Board of Trustees, while Metropolitan Joseph serves as Vice Chair of the Board.

Predrag Matejic, PhD, Associate Professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Slavic and East European Studies and Curator of the Hilandar Research Library, will follow up with a lecture on “Byzantium, the Slavs, and the Rise of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

The Meyendorff Memorial Lecture is open to the public. For more information, visit

Istanbul’s Greek Community Requests Removal of Graves

And next up: The Greek Orthodox community of Istanbul wants to remove the graves of three self-proclaimed Turkish Orthodox patriarchs, Efthim I and his two sons and successors, from its historic Greek Orthodox cemetery.

In 1921, Efthim founded the new Turkish Orthodox Church and declared himself pope. By 1923, besieged by the Holy Synod, he decided to appoint his own. Although excommunicated by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, and seen as a state-sponsored project that aimed to undermine Anatolian Christians, he was granted permission by the government to settle into the Panayia Church in the Galata neighborhood. Later on, his two sons took control of two additional churches, creating a so-called “patriarchate” but described as a “temple with no believers.”

Despite the fervent opposition of the Greek community, it was a government initiative to bury Efthim in Istanbul’s historic Greek Orthodox cemetery when he passed away, setting the precedence for his two sons.

Mihail Vasiliadis, owner of the Greek newspaper “Apoyevmatini” in Turkey, spoke to Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet on the subject.  “Do I have to see the graves of these [Turkish] nationalists who did harm to Greeks each time I visit the graves of my parents? As Greeks, we want their graves out of here.” He continued, “This is the Greek Orthodox cemetery. These men were not even Orthodox, let alone Greek. They were excommunicated. They founded a fake church.”

Islamic State Rampage in Syria

From Syria – The Islamic State continues its rampage on Christians in the Middle East and the destruction of anything related to the preservation of Syria’s cultural diversity.

In its first major offensive since May, the Islamic State took over the town of al-Qaryatain from government forces about two weeks ago. After kidnapping up to 250 Christians from the 1600-year-old St. Elian Monastery in the central city of al-Qaryatain, they returned to destroy it and the relics inside it.

Amid the jihadist’s well-documented human atrocities, the destruction of antiquities has been a recurring pattern for months.

  • In January: The Islamic State ransacked the central library in the Iraqi city of Mosul, burning thousands of books.
  • In February: They destroyed ancient artifacts at Mosul’s central museum.
  • In March: They used explosives and bulldozers on one of Iraq’s greatest archaeological treasures, Nimrud, and shortly thereafter destroyed ruins at Hatra.
  • In May: The Islamic State overan the historic Syrian city of Palmyra, and blew up the Temple of Balalshamin, designated a “World Heritage Site” by the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO.  Archeologist Khaled al-Assad, caretaker of the antiquities for over 40 years, was taken hostage a month ago and beheaded last week. Described as “one of the most important pioneers in Syrian archaeology in the 20th Century”, he was killed because he would not betray his deep commitment to Palmyra.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State views Christians as infidels. Violence and persecution from militants continues to force Christians from their homes, communities, and ancestral lands, seeking refuge wherever they can find it.

Segment 2. News from OCN

2015 OCN Hero Voting Opens

The Orthodox Christian Network will soon be announcing the recipient of the 2015 Hero Award. After receiving some truly great nominations on behalf of individuals who have given selflessly to others and the Orthodox faith, and after much deliberation, 5 amazing finalists have been chosen to advance to the final public voting round.

Voting will be open from 7:00 a.m. EST on August 26th to 11:59 p.m. September 4th. For more information on the finalists and their accomplishments, and to cast your vote, visit

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

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+

About author

Emmy Louvaris

Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy, the first weekly news show to cover the international Orthodox Church and community.