This Week in Orthodoxy, January 30, 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 the stories making headlines this week:
• The Christian population in the Middle East continues to dwindle under ISIS attacks
• South Florida Archons host religious freedom events
• The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting declares February 8, National Scout Sunday
• Russian Patriarch Kirill wants to cut high abortion rates

Segment 1: News from Around the Globe

Continued Persecution by ISIS of Middle East Christians
First to the Middle East, where hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians continue to be persecuted by the extremist Islamic organization ISIS. Last week, after four months of heavy guerilla fighting, Syrian and Kurdish militiamen, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, took back the border town of Kobani, which is considered an important strategic objective because capture of the town would have given the jihadi group control of a border crossing with Turkey and opened direct lines between its positions along the border.

In Syria, close to 150,000 have been killed and another 2.8 million Christians have been displaced into neighboring countries, including Cyprus. In Iraq, the Christian population has dwindled to between 150,000 and 400,000 from an original 1.5 million.

Even in the face of massacre, Christians continue to demonstrate the core tenets of our Faith and advocate forgiveness for their oppressors.

Archons Host Religious Freedom Events
Now on to Florida, where Archons, with the blessing of Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, are hosting religious freedom events. One has already taken place on January 23rd, with the next scheduled for Wednesday, March 11th. The Archons, along with the Orthodox Christian Network, will host the Miami event, at which Fr. Chris Metropulos is set to speak about his visit to the Vatican and Radio Vaticana for a world-wide broadcast last spring on the historical meeting between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He will also discuss the Pope’s recent visit to the Phanar in Constantinople on the Patronal Feast Day of St. Andrew.

The following Saturday, March 14th, the Archons will host a conference in conjunction with Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Naples, Florida. Keynote speakers include Archon Dr. Anthony Limberakis and Father Fouad Saba, with lectures on “Uplifting Christ: Witnessing For Our Faith in the Face of Radical Extremisms.”

This is all part of the Archons continual Religious Freedom Initiative, designed to protect the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey. For more information on the seminars, please visit myocn.net.

February 8th Declared National Scouting Day
February 8th has been declared National Scouting Day by The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting. It will be a day dedicated to recognizing the good deeds Scouts perform in their local communities.

A private, not for profit organization, the vision of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare every eligible youth to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law- which requires each individual, on their honor, to do their best for God and Country, to help other people at all times, to keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scouts develop a well-rounded education, earning merit badges in categories ranging from horseback riding to first aid, including the opportunity to earn Religious Awareness awards. Parish priests are encouraged to to aid Orthodox Boy Scouts in the obtainment the related medal.

The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting is an endorsed agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, and encourages Orthodox Christians to respect the role that Scouting plays in their communities. To find out more about enrolling your child in the Boy Scouts of America, you can visit www.scouting.org.

Patriarch Kirill Opposes Abortion
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called upon the Moscow Parliament to begin a campaign against abortions, starting with canceling state sponsorship for the procedure and aiming at a total nationwide ban. In the first-ever speech given by a head of the Russian Orthodox Church before the State Duma, Patriarch Kirill spoke before the Lower House last week.

According to UN data, Russia has the highest abortion rate in the world, with the former Soviet states being among the other leading countries. The Patriarch called this one of the country’s “main misfortunes.” The high abortion rates are a carry-over from the Soviet era.

The televised speech, was seen as an effort by the Patriarch and President Putin to reverse the long historical course of Russia and chart a new course towards a growth in population.

Segment 2: News from OCN

OCN Pilgrimage in June
Another pilgrimage is in the works, scheduled for the month of June, during which Fr. Christopher will lead a group of travelers in the retracing of Saint Paul’s footsteps. For more information on this exciting opportunity, and to access the many breaking stories, blogs, podcasts, and videos available on the latest topics of interest today, be sure to visit myocn.net.

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Support OCN for Free
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And that brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. 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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Constantine (Dean) Argiris is a lifelong Orthodox Christian from the…
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