Metropolis Praises Religious Freedom Resolution

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Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago
Praises Issuance of Archon-Backed Religious Freedom Resolution in Minnesota

CHICAGO, IL, October 15, 2018 – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago today applauded the issuance of a pair of resolutions by the Minnesota legislature (H.R. No. 4 and Senate No. 178) calling on the Turkish government to restore religious and human rights to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and other religious minorities.

A total of 46 states, including Minnesota, have expressed similar statements of support for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, representing a nationwide campaign by the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle in support of the Ecumenical Patriarch and religious minorities.

“On behalf of Orthodox Christians of our Metropolis, and especially those in Minnesota, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Minnesota lawmakers who supported the resolutions as well as to the Archons and clergy who advocated passionately for their passage,” His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael said. “As citizens of the United States, we are called to work with our elected officials to advance human rights, especially the freedom of thought, conscience and belief."

The resolutions, sponsored by state Representative Ron Kresha and state Senator Jim Abeler, were passed in collaboration with Archon Bill Spell, Minnesota Orthodox clergy and with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, itself an Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The religious freedom resolutions are extremely important to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate given the Turkish government’s refusal to recognize the global character of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's Office. The Turkish government also insists that candidates for Ecumenical Patriarch must be elected from among the rapidly dwindling population of Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey.

Over the past 50 years, several injustices were committed by the Turkish government against the Orthodox Church, including confiscation of church properties, the forced closure of the Halki Orthodox Seminary, the major center for the education of future Church leaders, and interference in the election of patriarchs.