Wednesday, June 16, 2010

COMMENTARY: Court Ruling on Greek Orphanage in Turkey Will Enhance Status of Patriarch

The unanimous ruling of the European Court of Human Rights this week requiring Turkey to return a former Greek orphanage to the Fener Greek Patriarchate will have a significant positive impact on the status of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Turkey does not recognize the role of the Ecumenical Patriarch as the spiritual leader of some 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world, but only considers him to be a Patriarch in Turkey. The European Court ruling will now require Turkey to recognize the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Fener -- the Istanbul neighborhood where the Patriarchate is located.

The ruling also provides hope for an improved status to the Catholic, Armenian, and Jewish minorities living in Turkey. Since 98 percent of the population of Turkey is Muslim, minorities in that country have often been treated as second-class citizens. Patriarch Bartholomew made that very clear late last year on the American television program "60 Minutes," when he said he felt that he was being "crucified" by living in Turkey.

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has told Patriarch Bartholomew that he will not oppose the ruling of the European Court on the orphanage.

Patriarch Bartholomew said he intends to turn one section of the orphanage building into an international center for the protection of the environment, and the other section into a center for inter-faith dialogue.

Let the implementation of the European Court's ruling begin!

No comments:

Post a Comment