Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Turkey's Minority Christians

Turkey's minority Christians only make up barely 1% of the Turkish population. The rest being Muslim. The Christian population has been dwindling due to persecution, harassment, and discrimination at the public and private sectors of Turkish society. A news article investigates the Pope's push to protect Christian minorities in Turkey. It is part of a larger plan set forth by the Vatican to ask for reciprocity in Muslim nations where Christian minorities reside. A plan to ask for the same rights that Muslims have in Christian countries for the Muslim countries Christian minorities.
In the decades since Turkey's independence in 1923, his Greek Orthodox community has dwindled from around 150,000 to 1,500 people, most of them elderly. And his role as spiritual head to Orthodox Christians worldwide has been curtailed, critics say, by Turkish restrictions. . . . "The Turkish government limits our role, and places serious constrictions on us," says Father Alexander Karioutsos, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. "We have a church whose body is greater than its head, because its head cannot grow." . . . Another ongoing bone of contention between Turkey and the Orthodox community is Ankara's refusal to recognise the patriarch as ecumenical, meaning head of the Orthodox Christian community worldwide. Turkey believes acknowledging this would be one step towards the patriarchate eventually demanding some form of autonomy on its territory, much like the Vatican. "The title ecumenical has accompanied the Patriarch for 15 centuries, it's not a 20th century invention," says Archbishop Demetrios of America. "It refers to a spiritual function." The Orthodox church is hoping that Turkey's possible entry into the European Union will help give minority religions some political leverage. But given the increasing tension in relations between the E.U. and Turkey, the pronouncements of Benedict and Bartholomew will face intense scrutiny.
To read more click here. UPDATED: Great posting about the Armenian Genocide orchestrated by the Turkish government here.


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