This Week in Orthodoxy, March 20, 2015

This Week in Orthodoxy, March 20, 2015

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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 the stories making headlines this week:
Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.
Pope Francis parallels the current persecution of Christians with the Asia Minor Genocide.
A 10-year-old Iraqi refugee reminds us of the true meaning of Faith.

Segment 1: News from Around the Globe

Christ is Risen! Pascha Around the World
First up, the world’s Orthodox Community united in celebrating the Paschal Feast this past Sunday, with the Resurrection of our Lord. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his annual Paschal address, reflected on the current status of global conflict. His All Holiness reminded us that the spirit of Easter is to remember Christ’s triumph over death and of “life over human corruption.”

In the United States, this Feast Day is often associated with the Greek traditions of Paschal lamb, red eggs, and tsoureki, a braided Easter bread. Similarly, the Arab Orthodox Christians also have these traditions; however, the Orthodox Church finds itself in many countries across the world, and customs often relate to their specific geographical locations and cultures.

For example, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Pascha, or Fasika, comes after a 55-day fast with a customary Resurrection service, where a chicken is offered up at midnight and the service continues. Afterwards, the Orthodox faithful celebrate with music and dancing until the early morning hours.

Russian Orthodox faithful celebrate with a large breakfast complete with ”Kurich,” a sweet Easter bread blessed by the parish priest. They also make an Easter Cheese dessert literally called “Paskha,” which is molded into a pyramid shape and embossed with a cross.

On the Saturday before Pascha, eggs are prepared, dyed red, and then brought to the midnight service for consecration.

Although culturally Orthodox Christians worldwide may have different traditions, as one Orthodox Christian church, the Resurrection of Christ is at the center of the Paschal feast.

Pope Triggers Outrage in Turkey over Asia Minor Genocide
Next up, while the Orthodox were celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord, Pope Francis triggered outrage from Turkey over comments he made regarding the Asia Minor genocide spanning from 1914-1923.

During a commemorative mass at the Vatican, the Catholic spiritual leader referred to the incident as the first genocide of the 20th Century and went on to list its victims: children, priests, bishops, women, men, the elderly, and the sick.

The statements came as the crisis in the Middle East has drawn parallels to the massacres that took place exactly 100 years ago this month. Under the orders of the Young Turk revolutionaries, the Turkish government killed a total of 1.5 million Armenians, roughly 700,000 Greeks, and approximately 275,000 Assyrians. In all, 2.4 million ethnic and religious minorities were killed by the Turkish government.

Turkey argues and maintains those killed were casualties of war and that the numbers are greatly exaggerated. However, written records by American and British ambassadors stationed in Turkey document the systematic extermination perpetrated by Kemal Ataturk. They included death marches through the deserts, trains to death camps deep within modern-day Syria and Iraq, and the burning of entire ethnic quarters within urban areas.

By referencing the Asia Minor Genocide, and millions systematically killed by the Turkish Government, Pope Francis has kept the current ISIS genocide against Middle East Christians front and center in the minds of the world.

Ten-Year-Old Refugee Shows Christian Spirit
Finally, one little girl, an Iraqi refugee, reminds us of the true spirit of Christianity. Ten-year-old Myriam was forced from her home when ISIS came through Ibril, Kurdistan back in December of 2014. During her interview on the Sat-7 Kids’ program “Why Is That?”, a smiling Myriam said she does not seek revenge, nor does she want to kill those who drove her from her home. She simply said she would pray for them and ask God to forgive them.

When asked what she missed the most, Myrian said her home. But she thanks God because He provides for her family, even during this hardship. She also said she would forgive ISIS for what they have done, expressing that God is love and that He even loved those who had harmed her family.

This expression of Faith is especially poignant during this time of year. We are reminded that even as Christ was put on the Cross, He asked His Father to forgive His killers, and in the Resurrection, the new Covenant was sealed.

Segment 2. News from OCN

Executive Director Travels to Celebrate 20th Anniversary
Celebrating our 20th anniversary, we’ve come a long way from producing a 1-hour radio program, and you can be a part of our growth! Last year, OCN experienced a 2500% growth, with millions of people being reached worldwide!

Come meet OCN’s Executive Director and founder, Fr. Christopher Metropulos, who’s travelling to parishes throughout the country the rest of this month, visiting:

• Holy Trinity Church in Pittsburgh, PA, on April 24
• Church of the Holy Cross in Belmont, CA, on April 25
• The Ascension Cathedral in Oakland, CA on April 26
• Metropolis of San Francisco Clergy Laity Assembly on April 27
• Visit MyOCN.net for event information, and consider making a contribution that will go directly to mission, not overhead. For just 10 cents a day, you can comfort, inspire, and inform people all over the world. Be a part of the OCN 10 Cent Movement!

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

About author
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Dean Argiris

Constantine (Dean) Argiris is a lifelong Orthodox Christian from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago who has devoted his time to raising awareness of the 1915-1922 Asia Minor Genocide. His works on the Greek economic crisis have been published in international Greek diaspora news media outlets. Professionally, he works in the political scene as a Staff Assistant to a Chicago Alderman. Previously, he worked as a party-paid staffer for the Illinois Senate, a Regional Field Director for President Obama's "Organizing for America" and has run a number of federal and state level political campaigns as an independent consultant.