(Peter Anderson) During this last week, there were three important inter-religious events in Rome with significant Orthodox participation in all of them.  On Monday, October 4, there was the meeting Faith and Science: Towards COP26.  This meeting was described in my last report.  On Tuesday, October 5, there was the meeting of 19 representatives of the world’s religions in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on the subject Religions and Education: Towards a Global Compact on Education.  On the next two days, there was the program, organized by the Sant’Egidio Community on the subject Religions and Cultures in Dialogue:  Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth.  The latter program culminated on October 7 with a prayer for peace at the Colosseum.  Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had important roles in all three meetings.  Metropolitan Hilarion (Moscow Patriarchate) has significant parts in the first two meetings. Metropolitan Antony of Korsun and Western Europe represented the Moscow Patriarchate at the third event.  Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury spoke at the first and third events, and Patriarch Catholicos Karekine II (primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church) spoke at the third event.  Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the German Federal Republic, was one of two major speakers at the closing ceremony at the Colosseum on October 7.

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Next weekend, the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Porfirije will visit the Metropolitanate of Dabro-Bosnia on the occasion of 50 years of monastic and 30 years of episcopal service of Metropolitan Chrysostom.
 
JERUSALEM, Monday, October 11, 2021 (WAFA) – The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem today condemned the city’s Israeli Magistrate Court’s decision to allow Jews to pray "silently" in Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site in Islam, considering the decision as an offense on the sole rights of Muslims in the entire compound.

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Citing the words of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, the Primate of the African Orthodox Church pointed out that “the division of churches and people is a luxury.
 
VATICAN CITY, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The Vatican hopes a meeting where world religious leaders will take a common stand on the environment can "raise ambitions" on what can be achieved at next month's U.N. Climate Change Conference, its foreign minister says.

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Le patriarche maronite dénonce les ingérences politiques dans l'enquête sur l'explosion au port de Beyrouth.  --  Le patriarche maronite Béchara Raï a appelé dimanche le gouvernement de Nagib Mikati à "faire face aux forces qui tentent de le contrôler", alors que cette équipe a été désignée le 10 septembre suite à un accord entre les partis traditionnels au pouvoir dans un Liban en plein effondrement économique.

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Addressing the large audience in French, he described the current state of international concern and called for solidarity, openness, responsibility and joint action.
 
Of all the speeches, homilies and documents that issue from Pope Francis, my favorite have become the transcriptions of his meetings with local Jesuits on his apostolic visits around the globe, transcripts then published by Civilta Cattolica. They are akin to the conversations after a holiday meal, when the unpleasant cousins have departed and only your dearest friends or relatives remain, and you are pouring the second or third round of after-dinner drinks: frank and familiar, sometimes a little edgy, often funny and always illuminating. --   Last week, Civilta published the transcript of the latest such meeting, with 63 Jesuits in Slovakia. The exchange provided a window into the Holy Father's thoughts on a variety of topics, but the most newsworthy were his comments about EWTN.

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Moscow, September 24, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has condemned the recent visit by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to Kiev.

"The arrival in Kiev by Patriarch Bartholomew and the people accompanying him without an invitation from the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine and the lawful hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is recognized as a major violation of the canons," according to the journals of the Synod session, which ended in Moscow on Friday.

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On September 16-17, 2021, a conference on the primacy and conciliarity in Orthodoxy took place at the Church of Christ the Saviour. Participants spoke in particular about the consequences of the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople’s actions trampling upon the conciliar structure of the Church and destroying her canonical order. --  Answering a question of Ye. Gracheva, presenter of the Church and the World TV talk show, the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk stressed, “It seems to me that a truly Orthodox person will never turn away from the Church. It can be done only by one whose religiosity is superficial, who is unable to see behind human reality the reality Divine presence in the Church, who does not feel that the Church is a space in which God lives and works.
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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will be in Athens in November, as orthodoxtimes.com had previously announced, where he will co-officiate with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens.  -- Specifically, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a meeting he had yesterday with the President of the Association of the Sacred Chanters of Greece Konstantinos Politis, expressed his joy that he will soon have the opportunity to be in Athens, responding to the fraternal invitation of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece to co-officiate on Sunday, November 21, at the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the temple, in the Cathedral of Athens, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his ascension to the Patriarchal Throne.

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The General Company for Post and Savings announced on Monday, issuing of stamps for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq.   ---
The official spokesman for the Ministry of Communications, Raad Al-Mashhadani, said in a statement received by the Iraqi News Agency (INA): " The General Company for Post and Savings issued a postage stamp for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq, and his meeting with the Religious Authority, His Eminence, Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani, and another stamp for his visit to the city of Ur." This visit embodied the concepts of peaceful coexistence and love between religions inside and outside Iraq.
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September, 21 on the feast of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos after the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated in Kyiv Spiritual Seminary in Kniazhychi, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Head of the UGCC accepted a recommendation letter from a newly appointed Apostolic nuncio to Ukraine archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas.

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The Ecumenical Patriarchate has announced that the scheduled visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States of America will take place from October 23 to November 3.

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NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Cyprus' Orthodox Church formally took charge Thursday of two ornately decorated 18th century doors stolen from a church in the ethnically divided island's breakaway north and reclaimed from a Japanese art college after a long legal battle.  --  Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos said the wooden doors — painted with religious scenes, carved and gilded — were discovered at the Kanazawa Art College more than 20 years ago and their return followed “long and intensive efforts.”

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Ecumenical Patriarch met Hungarian President

On Friday, September 10, 2021, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew departed yesterday for Budapest to attend and speak at the closing events of the International Eucharistic Congress of the Roman Catholic Church in the presence of Pope Francis.
 
On this occasion, the Patriarch will communicate and cooperate with the President of the Republic, the Parliament, and the Government of the Country on issues of the Hungarian Patriarchal Exarchate and will establish the Church of the Three Hierarchs on the premises of the large property donated by the Government to Ecumenical Patriarchate for the needs of the Exarchate.
 
A Florida couple had been trying to bring their son home from Afghanistan for years. Last month, he finally made it home, just in time.
 
He pointed out that so far he has not said a single word about the events in Montenegro, but that he recognizes the modern mechanism of red herring.   -- 
"That is why I have not said a single word so far about what is happening in Montenegro, and we are really very sad and recognize the modern mechanism of imposing something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue, where you declare someone bad in advance, where you declare him a provocateur,... read more
 
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a message in favour of vaccinations against COVID-19, describing it as “completely absurd and unjust” for some to be afraid to get the vaccine.  -  “It is completely absurd and unfair for some people to be afraid to get the vaccine. There is no reasonable excuse,” the Patriarch said in an interview with MEGA.  --  “I call again for everyone to be vaccinated without reservation in order to avoid serious dangers that will lead them to death. 
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The Ecumenical Patriarch said to the children: “It is very terrible to lose your parents in the war, but you can be proud of what they gave you, that is, a bright future in an independent and free country,” wishing them strength and courage to continue to support these ideals, for which their parents fought.
 

Serbian Patriarch receives Apostolic Nuncio

The Serbian Patriarch and the representative of the Holy See in an open talk, which is characterized by good intentions and understanding, exchanged views on a number of topics related to the problems and challenges that Christians face today in the world, especially in Europe.

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(USCCB) The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it is voluntarily dismissing a case against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) that it had brought after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights found that UVMC forced a nurse to participate in an elective abortion against the nurse’s religious beliefs.  The Church Amendment, enacted in 1973, prohibits recipients of various federal health program funding from discriminating against health care personnel because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions about abortions.  In the UVMC case, HHS found that UVMC not only engages in such discrimination, but on one occasion even deliberately deceived and coerced a nurse into assisting in an abortion.Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:
“The U.S. Department of Justice is acting in dereliction of its duty to enforce the plain meaning of federal law. It is hard to imagine a more horrific civil rights violation than being forced to take an innocent human life. HHS found that the University of Vermont Medical Center forced a nurse, against her known religious beliefs, to do just that. This is not only deeply wrong, but a violation of federal law. We call on the Administration to stand up for the basic dignity of our nation’s health care workers by reopening this case, and on Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act so that doctors and nurses can defend their own rights in court.”

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The leaders of the Russian Church in Ukraine are expanding their anti-ecclesiastical and divisive attack against the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on social networks.  --  A post has appeared on the Facebook page of the Russian Church in Ukraine calling on the faithful to an “online protest” against the Ecumenical Patriarch on social media.  --  In fact, specific instructions are given:

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On August 10, a source close to the leadership of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine reported this to Credo.Press.  -- Patriarch Bartholomew will hold a number of official meetings in Kyiv - with the president, prime minister and chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and will also attend the Independence Day Parade on August 24.

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Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine considers that there are four Local Churches close to the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.  --  In fact, in an interview on the Ukrainian website Liga.net, Epifaniy names these Churches. These are in particular the Churches of Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Albania.  --  Epifaniy believes that the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew may help speed up the process of recognition by these Churches: “This is a sign, first of all, that Ukraine is under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch comes to us as a co-brother. He is first among equals.

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On 21 July, Iranian President-elect Ayatollah Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi felicitated with Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City Pietro Parolin on Eid al-Adha in a phone call, saying that the greatest Muslim Eid that originated from Prophet Abraham (PBUH) could be considered as a "day of interaction among the Abrahamic religions" for consultation, reflection, and dialogue among all divine religions.   --  Emphasizing that the protection of human rights is the basis of Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, the President-elect said that according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions, Iran and the Vatican must stand with the oppressed people of the world against oppressing powers. As such, he highlighted the importance of consultation and dialogue among the Abrahamic religions for establishing genuine and lasting peace in the world and said that the Islamic Republic, as a religious democracy, welcomes any interaction and dialogue among the Abrahamic religions, especially Christianity.

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The Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out in his letter that the fragility of the natural environment is a result of the wrong choices and greed of man, who, he added, is still trying to understand the relationship between our very existence and the protection of our Home.  --   He recalled that, since the late 1980s, the Orthodox Church, head of which is the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has emphasized the need to protect the natural environment, highlighting the spiritual and moral dimension of the issue, in the context of man’s relationship with God and His Creation.

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NNA - The Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, received today at Dar Al-Fatwa, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, John X Yazigi, at the head of a delegation, in the presence of the Secretary-General of the Islamic-Christian Dialogue Committee in Lebanon, Dr. Mohammad Al-Sammak. 

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ZHIROVICHI, 25 June (BelTA) – There are attempts to break Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Belarus, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the clergy at the Holy Dormition Stavropegic Monastery in Zhirovichi on 25 June, BelTA has learned.  --   “Unfortunately, we are going through turbulent times. I will not go into details. Let me just remind you that against the background of this pandemic, as it was called, they tried to rock the boat here and, as you can see today, to break us. And not even subjugate. A possibility of disappearing as a state and a nation was looming,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.     ...read more