Moscow, April 16, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church instructed Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg to draft a program of events in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the deaths of last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family.
Religious services in commemoration of the royal martyrs will be held in all Russian churches on July 16-17, the Holy Synod also decided at a session in Moscow on Tuesday. The members of the religious and public program Yekaterinburg Initiative urged the Russian leadership last month to rename all communities on the Russian map related to the people who had to do with the killing of the royal family.
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II has voiced the hope that the UN will ensure the rights of Orthodox believers in Kosovo and Metochia.
"I hope the United Nations will do its best to ensure the access of Orthodox Christians to sacred places in Kosovo and prevent acts of violence against religious sites on that territory," he told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the St. Daniel's Monastery in Moscow on Thursday.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide aid to victims of the Albania munitions explosions that occurred on March 15 in the town of Gerdec near the capital city of Tirana. The explosions killed 17 people and wounded 300 others. More than 3,500 people were forced to evacuate their homes as the massive explosions continued into the next day.
"Displaced villagers will not be able to return to their homes for at least six months and will need long term support," said IOCC Regional Director Mark Ohanian who is coordinating the response in Albania. IOCC will provide $10,000 of support including basic hygiene supplies and clothing for families who were displaced by the explosions. Psychological support and recreational activities will also be provided to children and young people.
This month, Fr. John Erickson will journey to Tanzania as an OCMC Mission Specialist to teach seminarians at the Kasikizi Catechetical Center. Fr. John began teaching at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1973 and is currently the Peter N. Gramowich Professor of Church History. He is also a well-known expert in Canon Law.
The Orthodox Church in Tanzania has grown tremendously under the leadership of His Eminence Jeronymos, Metropolitan of Mwanza. In the past 10 years, the number of parishes has more than tripled, and the number of Faithful has more than doubled. His Eminence has maintained a missionary spirit that helps the Church in Tanzania to thrive.
The president of the European Commission met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in a visit to the Orthodox Patriarchate based in Constantinople on Friday.
Jose Manuel Barroso is on the second day of a three-day visit to Turkey, which is vying for EU membership. On Thursday, Barroso welcomed a Turkish decision to return property, such as school buildings, churches and orphanages, seized from Jewish and Christian foundations decades ago.
Barroso said the move was "a welcome step forward to address the difficulties of non-Muslim religious communities."