Constantinople is NOT Istanbul

Today marks the fateful 33rd anniversary of the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus (backed, incidentally, by the United States), a truly sorry and inglorious remembrance.

This anniversary of Turkish aggression occurs within a short few weeks of the latest in a long list of wrongdoings and crimes by the “modern,” “European” Republic of Turkey against its Greek Orthodox and other Christian minorities. In recent weeks, the highest court of the godless Turkish state has declared that His Holiness, the Patriarch of Constantinople (traditionally styled “Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch”), may not legally use the title “Ecumenical,”1 because, according to them, he is merely the head of the Greek community in Constantinople. (See this uncharacteristically excellent news report.) Of course, the Turks have always referred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as the “Greek Patriarchate of Fener” (see Turkish news item), but this judicial decision denying the canonical prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Orthodox Church is both unprecedented and scandalous. The European Union, which Turkey is anxious to join, might want to take note of this crass infringement on religious freedom by the Turkish state. (At least the matter will actually be brought to the EU’s attention by Greece’s foreign minister.) And of course, the recent tensions around Constantinople have not yet subsided. Can you tell it’s an election year in Turkey?

Σῶσον, Κύριε, τὸν λαόν σου,
καὶ εὐλόγησον τὴν κληρονομίαν σου,
νίκας τοῖς Βασιλεῦσι κατὰ βαρβάρων δωρούμενος,
καὶ τὸ σὸν φυλάττων διὰ τοῦ Σταυροῦ σου πολίτευμα.
1From Greek οἰκουμενικός (“universal”), meaning, in context, that the Archbishop of Constantinople is the Patriarch of the chief city and capital of the Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) Empireand as such, the primus inter pares (“first among equals”) of the Bishops of the worldwide Orthodox Church. The Empire was usually called the Οἰκουμένη (i.e., the “known” or “civilized” world) by its citizens.

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