Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's All About the Orthodox

I finally got around to reading a report I'd downloaded a while back, on Turkey's treatment of its Orthodox minority and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I was so irate I had to get up a number of times and take a break (and it's not a very long document, either). Turkey requires the Patriarch of Constantinople to be a Turkish citizen, but has pushed out the Orthodox population by turning a blind eye to anti-Orthodox violence and interfering with Orthodox education. They've closed the last Orthodox seminary in Constantinople, and largely refuse to allow repairs to be made to churches. And, to make matters still worse, they actively interfere in the election of the Patriarch.

If this was Yemen or Libya, it would almost be expected. But Turkey is ostensibly a modern, secular state. It is a member of NATO, and is in the final stages of becoming a member of the European Union. Moreover, it is violating numerous treaties of which it is a member by this treatment, most notably that of Lausanne, which has had constitutional effect in Turkey since 1923.

On another note, the Russians are apparently still standing by a farce by which the Ukrainian Greek Catholics were deprived of much of their property and status:

On March 8-10, 1946, a "synod" of 216 terrorized priests and nineteen laypersons, orchestrated in Lviv under the leadership of this group, abolished the Union of Brest (1596). This purported to be a synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and to this day the Russian Orthodox Church has claimed it to be such and has steadfastly refused to repudiate either the synod or its own role in the charade. But as the Russian Orthodox Church authorities are well aware, the entire Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy was in prison, and the entire presidium of the synod had in fact already become Orthodox, though this was kept secret until the farce was a fait accompli. The action was followed by massive arrests, interrogations, abuse, trials, banishment and deportations, causing incalculable suffering and death.

Russian Orthodox authorities ever since have defended what was done as a canonically legitimate synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church that freely and legitimately abolished of the "forced" Union of Brest, and to this day they have refused to disclaim or condemn it.
This speech is five years old, and so I hope no longer reflects the position of the Russians.


Blogger Bernard Brandt said...

I would like to thank you for your posting on Fr. Taft's essay. In addition to being a very thorough history of the development of the Eastern Catholic churches, it also was an explanation of the reasons (both good and bad), why Orthodox appear to be so angered by "Uniatism".

P.S. Did you receive my e-mail? If so, could you please respond to it. Thanks in advance

March 18, 2006 8:54 AM  

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