International Orthodox Christian News

OBL Released its First Publication


‘Orthodox Church of the East in the Twenty First Century: Challenges and Opportunities’

"The Book is a new hope for the Malankara Orthodox Church” . The book contains a great Vision for the Orthodox Church" – Rev Fr T J Joshua

‘Orthodox Church of the East in the Twenty First Century: Challenges and Opportunities’

Orthodoxy Beyond Limits Forum created history by releasing the first Church Management/Administration book titled ‘Orthodox Church of the East in the Twenty First Century: Challenges and Opportunities’. This might be the first management study guide/ reference book written in the two thousand years of history of the Malankara Orthodox Church.

The releasing ceremony was held on 27/10/08, at the YWCA hall, Mavelikara, Alleppey District, Kerala, South India. His Grace Thomas Mar Atansious Metropolitan of Chengannur presided over the function. Rev Fr T J Joshua gave the Key note address. Mr Thomas Kuruvilla introduced the book. Felicitations were made byFr Mathai Vilanilam , Adv K K Thomas and Fr Alexander Vattakatu . Mr Jacob Mathew delivered vote of thanks.

Around Two Fity Members Attended the Function.

H G Thomas Mar Athansious Metropolitan

His Grace began the speech by congratulating the author on bringing up the Fraud Claims of Reethu issue. His Grace stressed on the need for protecting the Catholicate of the all East. He also pointed out the need for revamping the media policy and the need for human resource training.

Fr T J Joshua

Fr T J Joshua asked the question "Why you are an Orthodox Christian?" He said that the book clearly briefly mentions the answer for the same.

He also added that the author has not given a blind criticism but had provided a great hope for the Orthodox Church.

The book must be seriously considered as a study material and reference guide by the Church leadership and all those relevant and practical suggestions must be implemented.

"Mr George Alexander has written the book not for achieving any position in the Church and also for not any financial gains, but it has come out of the true love for the Church"

A Part from the Foreword written by Fr T J Joshua

“Here a is book which demands the attention and serious consideration of all the members of the Orthodox Church and more especially of those who hold position and responsibility in the Church. These are not random thoughts of a carefree mind but reflections and proposals of a person who sincerely and seriously think about the Orthodox Church, about its policies, programmes and prospects. The author is in touch with the developments and trends in the Orthodox tradition through website and other media.”

Shri Paul Manalil

“If this book was written fifty years back the very face of the Malankara Orthodox Church should have been a different one. The Church should have reaped many benefits out of it.”

George Alexander (Author)

The author stressed on the fraud claims of the Malankara Catholic Rite. He said that the Orthodox Church must be able to deal with the fraud claims of the Reethu only then we will be able to feel proud.

He also criticized MGOCSM for giving more importance on building flats and deviating away from the basic objective. He questioned the connection between the basic motto of MGOCSM ie Study, Service and Worship and its connection with constructing flats. He also added that construction of flats must be given secondary importance. If MGOCSM had invested the money and interest in preparing the new Orthodox Study Bible rather than in flats, they would have published the Bible earlier.

If MGOCSM did not act accordingly the Orthodox Church will soon become the 'Church of Old Age'

Author also questioned the genuine nature and commitment of Indian Christian Orthodox Network (ICON) for censoring the author with regard to the Malankara Catholic Rite Issue.

George Also added that book will create miracle for the Orthodox Church if only the Church leadership positively respond to the book. The ultimate aim of the book will be not providing benefits to Orthodox Christians alone, but activities of the Church must provide benefits to all sections of the society regardless of caste, age sex and denomination. George also thanked each and everyone who has toiled behind the book.

The Following dignitaries attended the Function

His Grace Thomas Mar Athanasious Metropolitan (Chengannur)

Fr T J Joshua (Faculty and Former Vice-Principal, Orthodox Theological Seminary)

Elavukattu Geevarghese Ramban

Shri Paul Manalil (Chief Sub Editor-Manorama)

Fr Matahi Vilanilam (Secretary – Mavelikara Diocese)

Adv KK Thomas (Church Managing Committee Member)

Shri Thomas Kuruvilla (Sub Editor- Malankara Sabha Pathrika, Faculty Dept of Malayalam- SB College)

Shri Koshy P Abraham (Church Managing Committee Member, YMCA Sub Region Chairman, Alleppy)

Fr Alexander Vattakatu (Vicar- Karthigappaly St Thomas Orthodox Cathedral)

Shri Jacob Mathew (Participatory Forest Management Specialist, Dept of Forest, Kerala)
Prof G John ( Church Manging Commtte Member, Faculty Dept of Chemistry - Catholictae College)

Special Report by
Mr Subin Varghese (Vice Chairman, OBL )

The Orthodox Pope Shenouda III told the satellite TV channel OTV yesterday that Christians in Egypt are 12 millions. However, he added the Church had come up with these figures based on a special list which is like a Church’s internal census of every Christian family.
“We can find out Christians’ number by ourselves and do not care about official figures” he added.He affirmed that the Abu Fana monastery crisis had been linked to special conditions and that it could only be solved by resorting to informal councils, ascribing this to Kasr Hur Bedouins’ habits. He stresses his commitment to the Gospels’ teachings with regard to divorce even if they ran counter to the Personal Status Law.
“The Church does not criticize the judiciary’s rulings” he said. “The judiciary, though, has no authority over the Church’s conscience”.
“Who wins a divorce in court and wants to get married one more time had better go to another Church” he said. “We’re not the only church around, are we?”

In Alexandria, the Pope showed indignation for the uproar sparked by the issue of Wafa’ Costantine, a Christian woman who converted to Islam before returning to Christianity.
He denied asking clergymen to make her appear on TV to reject rumors about her killing and detention. He demanded one more time a special cadre for Churches’ workers nationwide to keep abreast with skyrocketing prices.

Orthodox Pope Shenouda III received on Tuesday evening some State officials, ministers, governors, political personalities and editors in chief.
They went to the Pope’s residence at the Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo to congratulate him on his return to Egypt after a 4-month treatment trip to the US.The delegation included, among others, the Speakers of the People’s Assembly and the Shoura Council, some ministers and the US Ambassador to Egypt.
The chairman of the Church’s media committee, Bishop Mark, denied rumors that the US ambassador talked to the Pope about some sectarian incidents which happened during his absence and about the imprisonment of a priest for five years on charges of forgery.
Bishop Mark stressed the visits only aimed to welcome the Pope back.
“Even the Holy Synod has not decided yet when it will hold its next session, as we are now focusing on the Pope’s health and celebrating his return” he said.
The Vice-Chairman of the Milli [Confessional] General Committee Tharwat Bassili confirmed the bishop’s words saying: “The Pope and the delegation just had some good time.”

Address of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr to the representatives of the Khmelnytskyi regional organization Ukrainian Fellowship of the Association of the Blind on 75th anniversary of their establishment and on the White Cane Day

KHMELNYTSKYI REGIONAL ORGANIZATION OF THE UKRAINIAN ASSOCIATION OF THE BLINDon the 75th anniversary Ladies and Gentlemen!I heartily congratulate you on the world's White Cane's Day and on the prominent event - the 75th anniversary of foundation of the All Ukrainian Public Fellowship of the Association of the Blind.Every feast, and a jubilee in particular, as an outstanding event makes think over the actual correspondence of our possibilities and the real deeds. Analysing that it turns out that we are gifted with many talents from God and are capable of being useful for the people needing help and care. The Holy Scripture teaches us to be sensitive to the people's grief and to make the neighbours' sufferings easier with our participation. That is how the law of Christ is fulfilled. Throughout its years-long history the All-Ukrainian Fellowship of the Blind proved that it walks the way of fulfillment of the god's law and its major commandment - "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind... And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22; 37-39). And the one doing a good deed for his neighbour, as Jesus Christ teaches us, he does it for the God himself. "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25; 40). During these 75 years the All-Ukrainian Fellowship of the Blind has done lots of good deeds. With its assistance tens of people with visual problem have been able to receive full-valued education, job and medical care; they better cope with the difficulties with transportation and self-service. For many the Fellowship became the life support, uniting the kind-hearted people, who are not indifferent to the problems and pains of a neighbour. Due to the activity of your public association, our blind compatriots feel themselves protected and necessary to our society. On this solemn day I give you and your associates in the matter of socialization of visually disabled people my heartily wishes of the God's blessing, "opening the eyes of the blind" (Psalms 145; 8), and giving strength to walk a hard way of your choice - the way of serving the neighbour. Let your slogan in your future deeds will be a call of the Saviour: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (matthew 5; 16).May the blessing of Our Lord Jesus Christ rest on all of you.† Volodymyr,Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine,Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

My Honourable Boris Evhenovych!The Executive Committee for Restoration of the Church of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia and for the Restoration of the Common Grave Memorial Cemetery in Zvirynets addressed to the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. By the joint effort we started the good matter of the restoration of the church, founded in 1916 in the territory of the military cemetery, where the deceased in the World War I had been buried. The main altar was dedicated to the Holy Hierarch Nicholas, and the Church of the Holy Hierarch Alexius, Metropolitan of Moscow was planned to be arranged in the ground floor. .In the Soviet times the church was turned into the laboratory block of the Institute of Strength Problems of the NASU, and the tombs of the Common Grave Military Cemetery were destroyed. The building of the church remained, but unfortunately today the Church is not allowed to perform liturgical services there.In 2006 the action group for restoration of St. Nicholas Church and the Common Grave Military Cemetery in Zvirynets was organized. During this time the complex work on gathering of the historical information and the documents about the church, the web site of the project was made and registered, the Passport of the church and the accounting records of the church that enabled entering St. Nicholas Church in the State Register of the Fixed Monuments as a monument of architecture of local significance. This project is supported by the city authorities, representatives of culture, business circles, public organisations and is under the auspices of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In connection with the necessity of preservation of this church, not only as an object of cultural heritage, but as an orthodox shrine, we ask You, Boris Evhenovych to render support and approve respective decisions as for vacation of the building for its further use by the Orthodox Church for the liturgical purposes, and to allot a land plot in the territory of the church to create the Memorial of the Military Common Grave, destroyed in the period of the Soviet regime.

† Volodymyr,Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine,
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

It was stated by teacher of the Kyiv Theological Academy, official of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC archpriest Mykolai Danylevych at the conference "Ukrainian National Studies of the 21st century: new approaches, criteria, and development objectives", which took place in Kyiv on October 21-22. He took part in it with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is in want of such work. In spite of the fact that the major part of our parishes performs the liturgical services in Church Slavonic, there are the parishes in the fold of the UOC, mostly in West Ukrainian regions, where the services are performed in Ukrainian. "According to Metropolitan of Lutsk and Volyn Niphont, there are some 80 such parishes in the Volyn region, which coincides with two our church dioceses. They are also in the dioceses of Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne", comments Fr. Mykolai.
The existing Ukrainian translations are far from perfection since most of them are made from the Church-Slavonic language, but not from the original language - Greek. In witness of his words the KTA teacher supplies a number of examples of inaccuracies and sense distortions in the latest translation of the Liturgy made by the specialists of the UOC-KP. Fr. Mykolai also gave an overall description of the Ukrainian translations made in the UGCC and in the orthodox diaspora. According to him, at present there are scientific human resources at the Kyiv Theological Academy, capable of working over the solution of this problem. "We have teachers who are conversant not only with Old Greek language, but with Greek liturgical texts and the Greek modern liturgical practice. It is within the realm of possibility that in the near future there will be the church in Kyiv where the liturgical services will be held in Ukrainian, since it is necessary to hear how the translated text sounds in the common prayer and church singing. Besides, I know that there are plenty people in the capital, attending the churches of the non-canonical groupings only because the liturgical services are performed in Ukrainian language there. Why don't we give them a possibility to pray in Ukrainian remaining in the church fold?"Another reason encouraging the KTA to work over this problem is a pedagogical aspect. The absence of elaborated Ukrainian theological terminology has a negative influence on the writing skills of the students who write their works in Ukrainian. "Of course, it is not the student's fault, says Fr. Mykolai, but a result of the absence of the Ukrainian theological terminology. It is an exclusively academic and scientific problem, and it is to be dealt with by the theological schools of the UOC and the Kyiv Theological Academy as center of the church science." The problem of necessity of composition of the Ukrainian liturgical language was raised at the extended session of the Academic Committee of the UOC, which took place as early as on September 12, present year, with participation of the rectors and vice-rectors of the theological seminaries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For the solution of this problem a respective working group was formed at the Kyiv Theological Academy. "We preferred not to advertise it, because the sense is not only to create a commission, but to start working indeed. At present we form the database, collect the existing translation versions, look them through, and study the developments of the other confessions. We are open for cooperation both with the representatives of the other confession and with the secular scientists, Ukrainian philologists", summed up the representative of the Kyiv Academy. Archpriest Mykolai also expressed hope that the joint work on translations and composition o the unitary standard of the Ukrainian liturgical language will facilitate overcoming the church dissents in Ukraine.

On October 25, with the blessing of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis Bishop Panteleimon of Vasylkiv performed the rite of blessing of the newly built social centre of the Orthodox Sisterhood of St. Julianne of Olshanskin the village of Stepok, the Obukhiv district. The main purpose of this establishment is holding various conferences dedicated to the social ministry of our Church. . Also the elder people's home is functioning under the patronage of the sisterhood, 27 persons have already found asylum and a possibility of participation in the liturgical services held in the church at the centre. .Present at the blessing rite also were the representatives of regional authorities and the businessmen of the region. Some of them were conferred on the church orders by Bishop Panteleimon with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr. The head of the Village Council of Malaya Olshanka Victor Kalenicnenko was conferred on the jubilee order "1020 years of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus". This order was also conferred on director of the All Ukrainian Charitable Fund "Life-giving Spring" Alla Tarasevych, orthodox writer Oksana Pepelets, and director of the firm "Ukraine" Vasyl Martynenko, and director of "Ukrinpro" Maxim Fedotov was granted the Order of the Venerable Elias of Murom. Besides, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Ministry archdeacon Serhiy Kosovskyi, who was also present at the blessing rite passed the medical equipment for the local medical station, for rendering medical assistance to elderly people. Finally the representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church visited the church home for the elderly, made with the assistance of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr and blessed by His Beatitude 7 years ago.

Your Beatitude!
On October 16-18, 2008, with your Primatial Blessing the First International Educational Holy Protection Readings were held, having gathered more that 230 participants from all over Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Italy and Germany. Your Beatitude was unanimously chosen Honorary Chairman of the Holy Protection International Educational Readings. For three days the plenary sessions and the sessions of the sections, presentations and round-table discussions were held. By the results of the three day work the Resulting Document was approved, and the collection of the scientific papers of the Readings will be published. The participants recognized the growing need of the Orthodox testimony in the rapidly changing and globalizing world. It is the Christian spiritual values and the cultural developments of the Orthodoxy that can prevent the deep ideological crisis the Ukrainian society undergoes. The assurance was expressed that the forum unites the efforts of the Church and society in assertion of the Christian values as support of the state and personal development.Giving praise to the Lord for the joy of communication and fruitful cooperation, the participants and guests of the First International Educational Readings will make the efforts to raise the level of the true spirituality of the society and the further development of the gospel witness in all the realms of being. The forum participants extend heartily gratitude to Your Beatitude for the greeting, the archpastoral blessing and sermon, as well as for the constant attention and personal participation in the development of all kinds of the church witness in the modern society and in the unification of forces of the best sons and daughters of Ukraine for the service to God and Motherland. The organisers, participants and guests of the First International Educational holy Protection Readings beg your holy prayers and Your Beatitude's blessing for the further work of the forum, which has to become annual with Your Primatial blessing. With filial love, on behalf of the organisers, participants and guests of the 1st International Educational Holy Protection Readings. † Philip,Archbishop of Poltava and Myrhorod,Chairman of the Missionary Department to the Holy Synod of the UOC

His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa is paying an official visit to Libya from 22nd October 2008, accompanied by His Grace Gabriel, Bishop of Mareotis and Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria and Archimandrite Savvas Heimonettos, Dean of the Patriarchal Academy “Athanasios the Great”.

Hi Beatitude was welcomed at the Airport in Tripoli by His Eminence Theofylaktos, Metropolitan of Tripoli and the clergy, His Excellency the Ambassador of Greece in Libya, the Consul General of Greece in Tripoli, the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Egyptian Embassy, the Chairman of the Hellenic Community of Tripoli and other officials.

At noon on the same day, His Eminence Theofylaktos hosted an official lunch in honour of His Beatitude, with whom he discussed issues relating to the local Church.

That night His Beatitude attended an official dinner hosted in his honour by His Excellency the Greek Ambassador, who expressed the respect and joy of all at the presence of the Venerable Primate of the Church of Alexandria in Tripoli , a city which is one of the oldest and most historical on the African Continent.


Come and receive the blessing
October 23-29, 2008

Beloved pilgrims,

On the occasion of the celebration of 2000 years since the birth of Holy Apostle Paul, the Church’s greatest missionary and the author of most of the Biblical writings used in the Orthodox service, the holy relics of St Paul, the Apostle to the Nations, are being brought to Bucharest from Greece for a week (October 23-29, 2008), thanks to the benevolence of Most Rev. Panteleimon, Metropolitan of Veria, Nausa and Kampania.

The presence in Bucharest, over these feast days, of the holy relics of St Paul, together with those of Righteous Demetrios the New, the Protector of Bucharest, is a great blessing to us all: hierarchs, clergy, monastics, faithful pilgrims from Romania and abroad.

Holy Apostle Paul is, after our Savior Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher of the Gospel of God’s love for humans. The life of the Holy Apostle and Martyr shows how God’s grace worked in this man who became, from tormentor of the Church, its zealous shepherd and showed how very alive is the connection between Christ and His Church.

Worthy shepherd and enlightened theologian of Christ’s Church, who went through many tribulations and trials before his martyr death, Holy Apostle Paul teaches us, through word and deed, to love Christ and His Church, to be witnesses to the grace and love of the Holy Trinity, working within the Church, to honor God’s saints and to live the Christian life in holiness, as a preparation for the Resurrection and eternal life in the Kingdom of God. All the epistles or letters of Holy Apostle Paul show us how Christ’s Gospel must be lived practically: as repentance for sins, as joy of forgiveness and of our reconciliation with God and with each other, as a life of prayer, holiness, brotherly love and good deeds.

Holy Apostle Paul is the teacher of Christian family, which he calls a Mystery, being an icon of light of the love of Groom Christ towards His Bride – the Church, as he teaches us in the Epistle read during the Service of the Holy Matrimony (Ephesians 5:20-32). At the same time, Holy Apostle Paul is a teacher of evangelical advices and of monastic life as a spiritual struggle for the shedding of passions and gaining of holiness, as he highlights in the same Epistle to the Ephesians (6:10-18).

Holy Apostle Paul is, at the same time, a teacher of Christian life in the midst of society, persuading Christians to live a pure and balanced life, to cooperate with state authorities for the common good of the society (Romans 13:1-8), to help the poor and the widows, to respect parents and the elderly, to raise children and youths in faith and holiness, to help needy church communities in a brotherly way.

Holy Apostle Paul teaches us, as well, to see the sky and earth as the work and gift of God for us humans (Romans 1:20), offering thus light for the dialog between faith and science, but also to contribute to the sanctification and protection of creation, of the environment.

In a special way, Holy Apostle Paul presents the earthly Christian time, in history, as a journey towards the heavenly homeland (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14).

In this light of Christian life as pilgrimage or seeking of holiness or of heavenly grace, St Paul is enriching, these days, the joy of all pilgrims who are venerating his holy relics together with those of Righteous Demetrios the New and of Holy Emperors Constantine and Helen, protectors of the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest. This church is being reconsecrated now, 350 years since its construction (1658 – 2008), but also 320 since the printing of the first complete translation of the Holy Scripture in Romanian (the Bible of Bucharest: 1688) and on the celebration of 500 years since the printing of the first Orthodox Euchologion in the world (the Euchologion of Macarie, 1508).

Beloved pilgrims,

In these days of blessing and joy, which Christ our Lord is giving us through His saints, we congratulate you all for coming to Bucharest and we are praying to the Allmerciful God to reward your faith and effort, your yearning and charity, with His grace and gifts, with health and redemption, peace and joy, help in your family and activity, with many and blessed years, to grow richer in faith and brotherly love, in holiness and good deeds, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, for the joy of the saints and for redemption.

Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church


Tomorrow, October 28, 2008, at Patriachate's Palace in Bucharest, in the Aula Magna Teoctist Patriarhul, the solemn meeting of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church will take place, starting at 10 a.m. The theme of the working session of the Holy Synod is a review of the activities in the eparchies within the Romanian Patriarchate, which were held in celebration of the 'Year 2008 - The Year of the Holy Scripture and of the Holy Liturgy'.


NEW YORK On November 9th, St. Michael’s Home will celebrate its 50th Anniversary and honor Archbishop Demetrios of America with the Archangel Michael Award during its annual Name Day Gala which is held in conjunction with the November 8th Name Day of the Home, the Feast of the Synaxis of the Archangels and Heavenly Powers. The event will be held at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.

The Archangel Michael Award is presented every year to a distinguished member of the community who embodies and promotes the finer qualities and traditions of Greek Orthodox heritage. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America is being honored not only for the dedicated and inspired leadership he has offered the Church in America but also on the occasion of his 40th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary in 2007 and the upcoming 10th Anniversary of his Enthronement as Archbishop of America.

St. Michael’s, the only Greek Orthodox adult home in the United States offering assisted living to its residents, was opened in 1958 by the late Archbishop Michael. At that time, the facility was known as Spiti Tou Protoporou (Home of the Pioneers) but in 1966 the name was changed to honor its founder and was dedicated to the Archangel Michael. For five decades, St. Michael’s has been a home-away-from home for countless Greek Orthodox elderly most of whom have come from the NY/NJ/CT Metropolitan area but in recent years some residents have come from other states across the nation. Within this unique Greek Orthodox environment, the residents are provided with assistance with their daily routine as well as room and board, medical attention, and other services critical to the well-being of these individuals.

While the evening will be an occasion to honor the Archbishop and to celebrate the Home’s accomplishments during the past 50 years of offering quality care to the elderly, the Gala will also be an opportunity to plan for the future. For the past five years, St. Michael’s has been operating at full capacity and has been limited by its present State license in the level of care it offers. Plans are underway to expand both the number of beds plus the level of care the Home offers and all proceeds from the event will go towards the Expansion Fund.

For more information about the Gala, please call 914-476-3374 or to make a donation on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of St. Michael’s please visit the Home’s website at


The European Commission invited twenty five distinguished members of the Church of GreeceBrussels from 14 to 16 October 2008. The group of visitors met with the Metropolitan of Belgium Panteleimon, Commissioners Stavros Dimas (Environment) and Ján Figeľ (culture), H.E. Mr George Papadopoulos, Greek Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Mr. Vassilios Kaskarellis, Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU, Mr. Jorge Cesar Das Neves, European Policy Adviser, Mr. Christos Katharios, Head of division, DG Enlargement, Council of the EU, Mr. Theodoros Kallianos, DG for Translation, Ms. Varvara Kazira, DG Education and Culture, Mr. George-Stavros Kremlis, Head of Unit, DG Environment, Mr. Axel Wallden, Head of Unit, DG Enlargement - Strategy Coordination, and Ms. Daphni Gogou, DG Freedom, Security and Justice.


Upon decision by Holy Synod of Georgian Orthodox Church, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia is awarded with the highest order of the church – Savior’s Tunic Order. On behalf of the Holy Synod Metropolitan Anania of Manglisi and Tavkisi Diocese awarded the Order to His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. “Savior’s Tunic Order is granted to Patriarch in honour of His 30-year reign anniversary, and to express our love and devotion towards Him”, stated Metropolitan Anania. His Holiness and Beatitude appealed to the parish after the divine service. He expressed his gratitude towards the Holy Synod members for the Order, and congratulated All Georgia on Svetitskhoveli Day. “The Georgian nation has special luck. It is not accidently happen that Elias’s tunic, the Savior’s tunic, and Holy Mother Virgin’s tunic is in Georgia”, stated Patriarch. His Holiness called the Georgian Orthodox Church “Arisen Church”, and asked the parish to strengthen their faith.


Georgian Orthodox Church

The first phase of Gelati rehabilitation is completed. The first phase included architectural and archaeological studies, also engineering and constructing studies all over the whole territory of the Monastery within the Monastery complex Rehabilitation Project. The project considers a complex rehabilitation of the monument, i.e. restoration and conservation of the monastery, and mantling modern infrastructure facilities there. German experts, Uve Loichmann and Anabel Gonzales, drafted a complete archaeological and architectural studies meeting modern standards. There is also completed the whole complex and nearby area marking project. Based on the abovementioned components and art researches and studies there was drafted a project on rehabilitation of one of the oldest parts of the monastery complex – Gelati Academy. In order to launch modern technological facilities in the sphere of conservation and restoration, Georgia intends to collaborate with Germany thus making basis for the forthcoming generation development as well as the sphere itself in the future. Gelati Monastery Complex restoration and rehabilitation project is implemented in frames of State Programme on Cultural Heritage Protection. The project is being implemented by a tender winner organization “Georgian Heritage”.



Divine Service was conducted by His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. After the crucifixion the Savior’s tunic was given to Elios and Longinus, Jews from Mtskheta. They brought the holy relic to Mtskheta. Elios’ sister Sydonia embraced the Savior’s tunic and dead. She was buried together with the holy relic. A cypress tree raised there on the grave. It was decided to build a church on the place of cypress during the reign of King Mirian and Queen Nana in the fourth century. King Mirian, Queen Nana, and Sydonia’s tribute day is celebrated together with Svetitskhovloba. Today, the Holy Synod awarded Savior’s Tunic Order to Catholicos Patriarch.


International Peace Forum Opened in Tbilisi

His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II sees great danger in separatism for the world. The Patriarch discussed the issue at the International Peace Forum held in “Sheraton Metechi Palace” Hotel today. The Forum is dedicated to main challenges and civilizations dialogues in the current world. The Patriarch congratulated the participants on St. John Theologian’s Day and wished peace and prosperity to the world. “Such symposiums have essential values because of instability of current world. If the world accepts separatism it will certainly be destroyed and ruined”, stated the Patriarch. His Holiness talked about returning Abkhazia and Samachablo within Georgia, and noted that the Georgian people would never accept their separation. The Forum is attended by representatives of different confessions and scientists from USA, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Holland, Russia, Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Lithuania. It is scheduled to organize a round table on “Spiritual and Moral Values Serving to Peace”, also presentation of a photo-album of His Holiness, and a photo-exhibition representing His Holiness’ life and deeds. The International Forum is organized by initiative of His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, and government support.



"Living together in community must take the centre stage of Christian-Muslim dialogue," said His Holiness Aram I at the opening of an 18-20 October ecumenical consultation aimed at developing a common Christian theological understanding of dialogue with Islam.

"The prevailing misperceptions, ambiguities, polarizations, tensions and collision (of values between Muslims and Christians), hijacked and sharpened by politico-ideological agendas and geo-political strategies, can be transformed only through a shared life in community," stated His Holiness Aram I, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church (See of Cilicia), in delivering the key-note speech of the consultation.

For His Holiness Aram I, such a "community building must take place on the basis of equal rights and obligations, as well as full and active participation in all aspects of society life, including decision-making". It "presupposes a quality of integration that provides equal opportunities, ensures diversity and enhances mutual acceptance".

Among the "divisive issues" to be addressed, His Holiness Aram I listed how both religions deal with the relationship between faith and reason, the response to secularism, the concept of mission and the tension between human rights and Islamic law.

Having a "rich history" of Christian-Muslim dialogue, the ecumenical movement needs to keep pursuing it with a "more focused" agenda, "touching on issues that pertain to the life of the people," said His Holiness Aram I.

Organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), together with a number of Christian world communions, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Roman Catholic Church, the consultation has gathered some 50 church leaders and experts on Christian-Muslim dialogue in Chavannes-de-Bogis, outside Geneva, Switzerland.



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