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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew:

In Turkey I am being crucified every day!!

Source: http://agia-triada-cholargou.blogspot.com/2009/12/blog-post_19.html 

«In Turkey I feel as though I am being crucified every day With this statement, the Ecumenical Patriarch unleashed a harsh accusation against the Turkish State for its general stance towards the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, but also towards the Greek community of the City.



During his interview on the program «60 Minutes» of the American CBS channel, the Ecumenical Patriarch for the first time directly impeached the Turkish state, charging Ankara that it is seeking the complete annihilation of the Hellenic community of 4000 souls, as well as the historic and sacred role of the Patriarchate.

«The Turkish government would be satisfied, if the Patriarchate were to be demolished and we were to abandon the land, however, we will not do this, in spite of the difficulties that we face. We will not depart», the Ecumenical Patriarch straightforwardly declared. This is the first time in centuries that the historical head of the Orthodox Church has ever addressed a direct "attack" against the Turkish government, but also against the manner that the "High Gate" in the past (and later the secular, Kemalist Turkey) had confronted the role and the sacred reality of the Fanarion.

As His Holiness Bartholomew mentioned, despite the fact that «Constantinople is as sacred a place as Jerusalem» and despite the numerous times it had addressed the Turkish institutional Authorities - from Prime Minister Erdogan through to the ministers of the islamic government of Turkey - asking them for a helping hand, they always turned their backs on him and left him entirely helpless.

Nevertheless, the Patriarch underlined in his televised interview which is to be aired by the American network on the 20th of December, that despite the problems and the difficulties, both the Patriarchate and the Hellenic populace of Constantinople «will remain standing».

To the question posed by the reporter, if, besides his institutional-sacred role the Patriarch himself considers he is being crucified by the conditions prevailing in Turkey, he replied «Yes», clarifying that for many years, both the Greek citizens of the City as well as those who are in the Patriarchate are regarded by the Turkish state as «second-rate citizens».

It is obvious that Bartholomew's attack against Ankara - and in fact so directly - will take on political proportions, given the recent meeting between Turkey's prime minister Tayip Erdogan and Barack Obama in Washington.  During that meeting, the American views regarding the matter of the Patriarchate, the Halki Theological Seminary, as well as the matter of the monastic properties were clearly put forward for discussion, these being issues that primarily concern the very survival of the Fanarion and the Orthodox Community in Turkey.

Diplomatic circles in Athens had evaluated earlier on today that Bartholomew's interview entails a specific timing and that it may possibly (under certain conditions) "assist" the intentions by Ergogan and his Counselors to embark on a more positive move with regard to the relations between the Ecumenical Throne and Ankara.

The same circles note that Erdogan may quite possibly "need" such a move, but also a parallel intervention by the European Union and Washington, in order to soften the reactions by the hyper-conservative bloc of nationalists and Kemalists as well as the Generals, in the hope of freeing the regimes of the islamic hieratic schools.




Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 19-12-2009.

Last update: 19-12-2009.