This Week in Orthodoxy, March 6, 2015

This Week in Orthodoxy, March 6, 2015

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Welcome “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.

Here are the headlines shaping the Orthodox Community this week:

• An Orthodox priest tragically dies, leaving behind a wife and six children.
• The first national Christian Rights and Freedom symposium is set for March 14th.
• IOCC aids Syrian victims in continued attacks.
• The Turkish Government grants citizenship to several high ranking Clergymen as possible successors for Patriarch Bartholomew

Segment 1: News from Around the Globe

Orthodox Priest Dies in Car Accident
First up, we open with sad news of Fr. Matthew Baker’s untimely death. Fr. Matthew was the parish priest for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Connecticut and a regular OCN blog contributor.

Father Baker, on his way home from vesper services this past Sunday with his family, died in a car accident. His family was not harmed.

Father Baker, who is described as a brilliant and promising young scholar, leaves behind a wife and six children. Those who knew Father Baker describe him as kind-hearted, and passionate with love for service. He spent much of his time caring for others, and therefore, earthly and material wealth was not accumulated.

Described by fellow priests as extremely intelligent and thought provoking, his contributions to many Orthodox blogs, including our own OCN blog, became a source of deep discussion among many.

His death not only means a great loss for the Orthodox community, but also has brought financial distress to the Baker family, as Fr. Baker was their only source of income. In an effort to support the young Baker family, a website has been set up, and we at OCN ask that you consider showing an outward expression of Christian love by seeing that his family is looked after, whether that contribution is financial or material.

You can help in one of two ways. For financial contributions, visit the GoFundMe page online at www.gofundme.com/nizf2g or send checks to:

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
247 Washington St.
Norwich, CT 06360

However, if you wish to donate physical items, please send an email to: Help4thebakers@gmail.com

As we close this story, let us remember the Lenten season as a preparation for the upcoming resurrection of our Lord, the sealing of the Covenant, and with the promise of inheriting God’s kingdom.

With that in mind, while we may mourn the loss of Father Baker, we should not feel profound sorrow for he has found new life in the Lord.

From all of us here at OCN, may Father Baker’s memory be eternal, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Christian Rights and Freedom Symposium
Now on to Naples, Florida, where St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church and the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be hosting the first National Symposium on Christian Rights and Freedom. Entitled “Uplifting Christ – Witnessing for our Faith in the Face of Radical Extremism,” the symposium will be held on March 14th, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Katherine’s Cultural Hall.

Speakers include international writer and Christian rights and freedom leader, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, and Reverend Father Fouad Saba, Dean of the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Coral Gables.

The focus of the symposium is to raise awareness of the deteriorating conditions in the lives of Middle East Christians and to call Christians and non-Christians alike into action.
This comes in light of the 21 martyred Coptic Christians and now the 262 Christians, including women and children, who were recently captured by ISIS in Syria.

Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the Middle East. Considered by many as its birthplace, many Middle Eastern countries have laws prohibiting the open practice of anything other than Islam. As a result, Christians are forced to worship in secret.

Also in the Middle East, ISIS continues its charge on Christians, now launching attacks on two northeastern Syrian towns about 120 miles west of Mosul, Iraq. The towns had become the home of some 2,400 Christian refugees who fled their villages after ISIS stormed in and left their homes destroyed.

The IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch have teamed up to provide comfort to the refugees with food, medical attention, and emergency aid including bedding and clothing.

Currently, IOCC has 27 offices in Syria and has provided relief to more than 2.5 million people suffering in the ongoing civil war and ISIS attacks. For more information on how you can help support the IOCC’s efforts, go to iocc.org.

Citizenship for Priests in Turkey

And finally, we turn to the Capital city of Ankara, Turkey, where 10 clergy have been granted citizenship. This new development is critical in determining who will succeed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when the time comes, as he is one of the last eligible Greek-Turkish citizens.

Current law states that only a Turkish citizen can become Patriarch of the global Orthodox Church. A point of contention with the Orthodox Community worldwide, this is seen as a form of oppression by the government in limiting the available clergy who could become Patriarch.

The issuance of Turkish citizenship to these 10 clergymen expands the pool of candidates. However, Turkey still retains veto power over any elected Patriarch.

Segment 2. News from OCN

Growth of OCN
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! Join us this year as we expand our reach to even more people!

During this Lenten season, our Paschal appeal guarantees your contributions go directly to mission, not overhead. For just 10 cents a day, you can comfort, inspire, and inform people all over the world. Visit myocn.net for how you can 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.


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

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.