This Week in Orthodoxy, December 11, 2015

This Week in Orthodoxy, December 11, 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 some of the stories making headlines this week:

  • Moscow Wants Turkey to Return Cathedral of Agia Sophia to Orthodox Church.
  • Pope Francis wants communion with the Orthodox Church
  • Celebration of Feast of St. Andrew in Constantinople.

First up, From Russia, State Duma deputies have supported the idea of returning Agia Sophia in Constantinople to the Orthodox Church, said Sergei Gavrilov, the coordinator of the inter-factional parliamentary group on the protection of Christian values.

Today, when Russian-Turkish relations are undergoing an “endurance trial,” mutually friendly initiatives and proposals are of special importance, Gavrilov continued.“The Russian side deems it possible to return to the question of Agia Sophia, the ancient shrine of the Christian world, located in Constantinople – an ancient Byzantine cathedral associated with the history of the universal Christian Church. We expect a friendly step from the Turkish side – returning Agia Sophia of Constantinople to the Christian Church.

He added that Russia is ready to participate financially, and  involve the best Russian architects and scientists in restoring of the universal Christian monument. “This step would help Turkey and Islam demonstrate that good will is above politics. Agia Sophia should be returned to Christians,” the parliamentarian said.

And Next up, In an address upon the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Orthodox Church of St. George in Istanbul, for the celebration of the feast of the holy Apostle Andrew, the first-called, the brother of Saint Peter, and the Patron Saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; Pope Francis said, “the one thing that the Catholic Church desires and that I seek as Bishop of Rome…is communion with the Orthodox Churches.”

Pope Francis began by saying, “Meeting each other, seeing each other face to face, exchanging the embrace of peace, and praying for each other, are all essential aspects of our journey towards the restoration of full communion.  All of this precedes and always accompanies that  ~other essential aspect of this journey, namely, theological dialogue.  An authentic dialogue is, in every case, an encounter between persons with a name, a face, a past, and not merely a meeting of ideas.”

The Pope concluded his address with, “Dear brother, dearest brother, we are already on the way, on the path towards full communion and already we can experience eloquent signs of an authentic, albeit incomplete union…  We are certain that along this journey we are helped by the intercession of the Apostle Andrew and his brother Peter, held by tradition to be the founders of the Churches of Constantinople and of Rome.  We ask God for the great gift of full unity, and the ability to accept it in our lives.  Let us never forget to pray for one another.”

And lastly,  from the same liturgical celebration in  ISTANBUL, and at the invitation of His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Assistant Professor of Canon Law at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary was honored to represent the Orthodox Church in America for the Feast of the Apostle Andrew at the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s thronal feast, on November 30th.

“It was a great honor that the Orthodox Church in America was able to be present for this feast and a personal honor for me to co-celebrate the feast with His All-Holiness,” said Father Alexander, who served with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, along with others including members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople, the Grand Archimandrite Bessarion, and the patriarchal deacons.

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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.


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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.