This Week in Orthodoxy, September 19, 2014

This Week in Orthodoxy, September 19, 2014

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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:

  •  Thirteen years after the loss of St. Nicholas at the World Trade Center, a date for the groundbreaking of a new church has been set.
  • Christians in Tripoli, Lebanon, report threats and persecution from an ISIL emergence.
  • An OCN Team attends the IDC, “In Defense of Christians,” summit in Washington DC.

Segment 1: News from Around the World

Date Set for Saint Nicholas Ground-Breaking
First up, groundbreaking for the re-building of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed on September 11th, thirteen years ago, has been set for next month on October 18th. First built in 1832, it stood in the shadows of the Twin Towers, and when the South Tower fell, it became the only church destroyed.

Over the next ten years, the land where the church once stood became the center of dispute between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the church, until an agreement to rebuild was finally reached in 2011. According to plans featured on OCN in July, the historical site will include a church for the congregation to worship in, a national shrine, and a universal bereavement and prayer center open for all to reflect on the tragedy of September 11th.

Threats to Christians in Tripoli
Next, In the Middle East, Christians in Lebanon are on the edge. In the town of Tripoli, churches are being vandalized. Their walls sprayed with the words: “The Islamic State is coming.” Sources report that some churches have received more specific threats, warning of mass murders directed towards “worshippers of the Cross.”

Tripoli is the second largest city in Lebanon with a population of nearly half a million. Becoming one of the hubs for refugees fleeing persecution in Iraq. ISIS flags, readily available at stores in Tripoli, became the center of attention just a few weeks ago, as social media was abuzz with “The #BurnISISFlagChallenge,” where Sunnis and Christians nominated one another to show their disapproval of the terror organization, by burning the infamous black flag.

To date, Lebanon has become home to nearly 8,000 Iraqi refugees.

OCN Attends IDC Summit
And next up, an OCN team, including Executive Director Fr. Christopher Metropulos, attended the “In Defense of Christians” summit held last week in Washington, DC. The summit organized to bring together religious leaders, human rights experts, public officials, policy makers and diplomats, all unified in good will to strengthen advocacy efforts to alleviate the plight of Christians in the Middle East: “to defend the defenseless, to be a voice for the voiceless.”

After the three-day summit, “For the first time in history, five Christian Patriarchs representing Leaders in Christian communities in the Middle East, visited the White House to discuss the protection of Christians in the Middle East with President Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.”

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East was not able to attend; however, His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlaoui, Archbishop of New York and All North America of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church attended the meeting as the official representative.

Log on to myocn.net for additional information about this historic meeting as reported by the Syriac International News Agency (SINA) and to read Fr. Christopher’s first hand accounts of the IDC summit highlights.

And given the IDC summits effort to bring attention to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians, here’s a follow up on the two still missing Bishops, kidnapped over a year and half ago.

Archbishop Paul Yazigi, brother of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, who had previously been successful in the release of over a dozen captured Muslims and Christians were both abducted by Islamist extremists while trying to secure the release of two captured priests in April of 2011.

Among the first victims of persecution in the region, the Bishops kidnappings brought light to the escalating violence against Christians, as extremists gained more and more power, blatantly flaunting their ability to wage terror at any level. The Bishops whereabouts are still unknown, with little verifiable information available. We’ll keep you updated with this on-going story.

Segment 2: News from OCN

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And that brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close; *A program made possible by a generous gift from the National Philoptochos Society *In memory of former OCN Chairman of the Board: Dr. George Mekras.

For everyone here at the OCN Studios, Thank you for watching, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s Go Forth in Peace.

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

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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.