EU chief visits Orthodox patriarchate in Constantinople

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."

The Moscow Patriarchate urges to protect children's right to study their religion in school

Strasbourg, April 9, Interfax - The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church claimed in Strasbourg to protect the right of children to advanced study of their religion or conviction systems in school.

"The basic knowledge about different religions should not replace voluntary study of the depth of one's own religion or system of convictions," deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said at the European conference on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue.

A Conference by the International Foundation for the unity of Orthodox Christian Nations

The international Conference in Banja Luka (Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina) in February, 26-29, 2008 was organized by the International Foundation for the unity of Orthodox Christian Nations in cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church, and with support from the state authorities of the Republic of Srpska. It welcomed participants from the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, as well as political, public and religious figures from 22 countries of the world. The participants carefully considered the live issues of the place and the role of the traditional religious values in modern society, realizing their rich positive potential for peace-making, and discussed the actual state and prospects of development in this context of interreligious dialogue.

First Orthodox liturgy conducted at North Pole

Северни полNorth Pole (Camp Barneo), April 6, Interfax - The first Orthodox Church service has been conducted at the North Pole, 90 degrees north of Greenwich.

The service was performed by Archbishop Ignaty of Petropavlovsk and Kamchatka, two priests and a deacon of the Kamchatka diocese in a tent, put up on an ice floe specially for the occasion for a few hours, an Interfax-Religion correspondent reported. The tent, large enough to accommodate 15 worshipers, was sanctified by Archbishop Ignaty in honor of the Twelve Apostles, "as a sign, that the teachings of Jesus Christ have reached the Earth's extreme boundaries."

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev challenges WCC

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

When the World Council of Churches (WCC) opened its international central committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, in February, delegates heard a passionate plea for orthodoxy from a Russian Orthodox bishop.

According to The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox bishop of Vienna and Austria, stepped up to a microphone and boldly challenged the assembled delegates.

An Assyrian Orthodox priest fatally shot in Iraq

BAGHDAD, April 5 -- An Assyrian Orthodox priest was fatally shot Saturday in an upscale neighborhood of the capital, the second such killing in Iraq in recent weeks.

Youssef Adel, 40, was gunned down as he was leaving his home in Karrada, considered one of Baghdad's safest neighborhoods, according to a police spokesman and a priest with knowledge of the incident.