I am a lifelong Central Illinois resident and a parishioner of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Peoria. My wife's parents are immigrants from a small village outside Athens. My wife (Maria) and I have two young sons, Christian age 4 and Dimitrios age 3. I am also a member of Chicago Metropolitan Council.
CONGRESSWOMAN ESHOO GRATEFUL TO BISHOP DEMETRIOS OF MOKISSOS FOR ATTENTION TO GENOCIDE
U.S. HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE PASSES RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING GENOCIDE OF CHRISTIANS IN MIDDLE EAST
Chicago: Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California’s 18th District and Co-chair of the bipartisan Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus in the House of Representatives has expressed her thanks to the Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos for his bringing national attention to the genocide of Christian minorities in the Middle East.
A November, 2015 resolution adopted by the Metropolis of Chicago Local Assembly, consisting of clergy and lay representatives of Greek Orthodox parishes in six Midwestern States, called for national leaders to officially recognize war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide occurring in the Middle East.
Since then Bishop Demetrios has actively brought attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Hearing the call of parishioners and with the blessings and full support of his superior, Metropolitan Iakovos, he mailed out copies of the Resolution from the Assembly to all members of Congress whose districts have parishes of the Metropolis as well as President Obama. As he has traveled to visit the various parishes, his speeches have continued the call for action. As he met with national and state leaders, including Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, he has discussed with each the need for action.
His editorials on the subject have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Des Moines Register, Indianapolis Star, and The Wall Street Journal, along with countless religious websites including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Assyrian Orthodox and various Protestant denominations. His editorials have even reached the attention of the Spiritual Leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
With Congresswoman Eshoo, the U.S. Congress has taken notice.
“I read your excellent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal (2/11/16) regarding the ongoing Christian genocide with great interest and I deeply appreciate the attention you have brought to this critical issue,” wrote Eshoo. “The situation is deeply personal for me as I share a background with many of the displaced. I am Assyrian on my father’s side and Armenian on my mother’s side. Like so many others, my grandparents fled to escape religious persecution in the Middle East and immigrated to the United States” she continued.
Congresswoman Eshoo (D) is also a major supporter of House Concurrent Resolution 75, which is currently in movement in Congress. She explained her pride that her Co-Chair Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R) of Nebraska’s 1st District “introduced House Concurrent Resolution 75 which declares the atrocities being committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria against every ethno-religious minority group is genocide.”
She continued, “This gruesome and ongoing reality must be denounced.” She then quoted Pope Francis, “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide, and I stress the word genocide taking place, and it must end.”
This past Wednesday, March 2, 2016, HCR 75 unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, clearing a path for a vote by the full House of Representatives.
Following the vote by the Foreign Affairs Committee in an official Press Release, Chairman Ed Royce (R) of California’s 39th District said, “ISIS commits mass murder, beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture, enslavement, and the kidnaping of children, among other atrocities.” The Chairman added, “Put simply, their desire is to erase the existence of ethnic and religious minorities from their self-proclaimed caliphate, by any means necessary. ISIS is guilty of genocide and it is time we speak the truth about their atrocities. I hope the administration and the world will do the same, before it’s too late.”
The Resolution in the House of Representatives currently has 203 co-sponsors from both sides of the political aisle, showing strong signs of near future success. After passage by the full House of Representatives, the Resolution will cross over to the US Senate.
While Bishop Demetrios is pleased with the warm letter from a national leader within the United States Congress and the actions of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he is disappointed to see that few congressional leaders within the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago have yet to co-sponsor the resolution and display their commitment to this much needed statement. As such, Bishop Demetrios is committed to contacting each of these Representatives to bring this issue to their attention.
Copies of the Metropolis Assembly Resolution, as well as published editorials by Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, can be found on the Metropolis of Chicago Website:www.Chicago.GOArch.org.
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