CHURCH OF HOLY WISDOM
notion of installing a mosque next to Ground Zero merits to be trashed. It adds
insult to injury.
The hypocrisy of feigning good faith is clear: Malice is indelible.
Similar to the minarets skirting the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Constantinople,
the message is again nothing but an audacity to declare conquest of Christianity by Islam.
AMERICA: NEW BYZANTIUM
Religious Conviction Abhors Terrorism: It Condones Justice.
(See: A Proposal)
The Christian reader will observe that the four obnoxious minarets that attempt to stifle the dignified and pious elegance of Hagia Sophia have here been removed and bundled. They were erected in defiance of and as an affront to Christianity. The land upon which they were constructed was usurped.
It is suggested that with due care and deference the columns be disassembled by pieces in numerical order and returned to their interested owners for legitimate relocation other than to sites of Christian worship.
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RESOLUTION URGING TURKEY TO RESPECT
THE RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS OF
THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE
TRENTON, NEW JERSEY
Constantinian Knight Commander Panos Stavrianidis, accompanied by the Very Reverend Alexander Kile, testified before a State Senate Committee in favor of a joint resolution "urging Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate."
Commander Stavrianidis presented documented facts supported by photos of the oppressive conditions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, including the continuous refusal of the Turkish Government to abide by the basic human rights as they are expressed in the tenets of the United Nations and the European Union.
Commander Stavrianidis is an Archon of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle and is acting in conjunction with an initiative of the Order and its Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis, to make this issue known to the legislative bodies of the States of the Union; urging all Orthodox Christians to lobby for the survival of the Spiritual Center of 250,000,000 Orthodox Christians around the world.
The Committee showed extreme sensitivity to the existing issues and voted
unanimously at the meeting for the approval of the following resolution:
State of New Jersey
The Governor and Legislature of the State of New Jersey call on the Government of Turkey to eliminate all forms of discrimination, particularly those based on race or religion, and immediately grant the Ecumenical Patriarch appropriate international recognition, ecclesiastic succession and the right to train clergy of all nationalities. New Jersey calls on the Government of Turkey to respect the property rights and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Governor and the Legislature of the State of New Jersey call on the Government of Turkey to pledge to uphold and safeguard religious and human rights without compromise and encourages Turkey to continue advancement of processes and programs to modernize and democratize its own society, in light of its potential accession to the European Union.
This joint resolution shall take effect immediately.
In a significant subsequent development, following the example of
the above Resolution of the NEW JERSEY
STATE SENATE, the NEW JERSEY STATE ASSEMBLY has unanimously passed RESOLUTION AJR61
that condemns Turkey for violating the Human and Religious Rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
and of the Greek Minority of Constantinople.
This action makes the State of New Jersey the first State in the Union to take
such measures and actually to
establish a precedent that, hopefully will be followed by other States.
Great appreciation is expressed to Senators BOB SMITH and JOSEPH KYRILLOS and to Assemblymen STEVE CORODEMUS and UPENDRA CHIVUCULA who sponsored the Resolutions respectively in the Senate and in the Assembly.
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The following article is offered on the occasion of the above characterization and for a better historical understanding. Religious tolerance is not in evidence in the long established behavior of the Turk.
The date of May 29 is famous (or notorious) as the day that Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. For fifty-five days, the Greeks under Emperor Constantine Paleologos valiantly resisted the Turkish invasion. An army of 7,000 Greek soldiers fought against a Turkish army of 80,000 before they were finally defeated.
The beginning of the end for the Greeks came in August 1071 when the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantine armies at the Battle of Manzikert. The Crusades, which had originally been intended to liberate the holy land from the Muslims, savagely turned against the Christian East and invaded Constantinople in 1204. The Greeks would never recover and the Ottoman Turks would conquer all of the Balkans, leaving Russia the only free Orthodox nation.
In response to their requests for assistance, the west demanded that the Greeks give up their Orthodox beliefs. In response the Greeks stated, "Better the Turban of the Sultan than the Cardinal's hat". Sultan Mehmed, later to be known as "the Conqueror" guaranteed the safety of all in the city if they willingly surrendered. Constantine responded by stating, "I will never give you the City."
As such, the Orthodox faithful chose martyrdom. The Turkish entry into the city was accompanied by beastly behavior. Murder, rape, and plundering were widespread. Churches, Monasteries, Libraries, and other sites were destroyed. By Islamic custom, any so-called "Infidel" city that does not willingly surrender is allowed to be sacked for three consecutive days without interruption. Boys were immediately kidnapped, converted to Islam, and recruited into the Janissaries. Christian Women were forced into Harems.
Furthermore, Islamic custom demands that the center of religious life for "giavours" (Infidels) be transferred into a Mosque. The Great Church of Aghia Sophia has been lost ever since. Myths have been told of the Priest who was taken into the walls of the Great Church so the Turks would not profane or desecrate the Eucharist.
The Emperor himself resisted calls to go into exile and died in battle. His remains were never found and myths were told about the "Marble Emperor" who allegedly was saved at the last moment by an interceding Angel. The myth states that one day the Emperor would awaken and chase the Turks back to the Red Apple Tree.
Eight years after the Fall of Constantinople, the Empire of Trebizond fell to the Turks. There was some resistance in the Balkans to Mehmed's expansionism. Prince Vlad of Wallachia kept the Ottomans back for a time.
A century after the fall of Constantinople, Russia began to emerge as "Third Rome" with the Czar taking the place of the Emperor of Constantinople as protector of Christians. In 1589, the Ecumenical Patriarch upgraded the Metropolitan of Moscow to Patriarch and indirectly endorsed the Russian claims. Catherine the Great supported a "Greek Project" which would see the restoration of a Greek state allied with Russia and with its capital in Constantinople.
In 1821, the Greek nation revolted against Turkish slavery. Patriarch Gregory V was hanged in front of the Patriarchate along with twelve Bishops. After a decade of fighting, a Hellenic state was established.
In 1853 and 1878, opportunities for Russia to liberate Constantinople were denied when the imperialist powers used their strength to back the Sultan. In 1915, during the First World War, Britain agreed to give Constantinople to the Russians, but the Bolsheviks denounced the agreement. During the same time, Greece began to emerge as a major power in the Balkans.
Following the Collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, Greek troops were among the victorious armies of WW1 that entered Constantinople. In May 1919, Smyrna was liberated. Under Eleutherios Venizelos, Greece was seeking to fulfill the national dream known as the "Megali Idea". Western imperialism interceded to deny the Greeks of Constantinople and Asia Minor their right to self-determination.
The Greek army was prevented from winning the struggle in Asia Minor and was not only prevented from liberating Constantinople, but Greece was forced to evacuate Eastern Thrace as well. Mustapha Kemal emerged to finish Mehmed's work. Five centuries after the City fell, anti-Greek pogroms led to the Exodus of the City's Greeks. All that remains is the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Theological Seminary of Halki that is closed.
Islamists in Turkey usually remember May 29. They demonstrate from time to time to turn Aghia Sophia back into a Mosque. The Patriarchate has been bombed on four different occasions. Cemeteries are desecrated, Churches secularized, and individual Greeks murdered.
The Kemalist state has been built on top of the remains of countless Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian corpses. Try as they might, the Turks cannot erase the history that the Greeks have left in Constantinople. The Mosaics on the walls of Aghia Sophia bear witness to Christ and the Orthodox faith, and they also tell the visitor to whom the Great Church and City belong.
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Is Asia Minor Europe?
There was no question about the Hellenic nature of the lands colonized by the prehistoric Greeks who established their Ionic civilization in the Aegean Islands and along the coast of Asia Minor.To the extent that the concerns of continental Greece reached out to that geographical area (e.g., the Trojan War, ca.1230 B.C.?),1 the territory was in essence Hellenic. This is so, notwithstanding that the geopolitical definition of space excludes Asia Minor from the European map: It is called Asia Minor because the land is located in Asia. It is illogical, therefore, to call what today is labeled as Turkey, a European country.
To repeat, the area was Hellenic because of the influence of Hellenism and the presence of its people. The condition continued and was further expanded by the extension of the Roman and subsequent Byzantine periods, which is to say, the presence of the Western World. With the mid-Asiatic onslaught, the essence is transformed by an inordinate intrusion of a non-European conscience. It is insulting to common intelligence to attempt to portray as a European country what today is labeled as Turkey. An alliance may exist, but it is one with a non-European entity, similar, for example, to the alliance with Japan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, or the Jewish State.
Only a revival of Western encompassing influence and influx, affecting the self-awareness and make-up of the overall consciousness resident there, radiating from as far West as the Americas—NEW BYZANTIUM—can impart a legitimate claim of European identity in that area. Tenuous economic and strategic considerations alone do not suffice.
Furthermore, the issue is not whether the entity can be renamed a European country. The essential question is, Why and on what evidence is the entity deemed to be a European country?
Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing asserted that Turkey is not a European country. The European Union was quick to distance itself from the statement. The French Prime Minister attempted to downplay the ex-President’s remark, saying that it only echoes a personal opinion.2 However, all opinions on the matter are personal. The subject deserves full consideration and a detailed analysis and response to the above question, namely, Why and on what evidence is the entity deemed to be a European country? It is amazing how at times the Balkan Peninsula is perceived apart from Europe [this practice is slated to cease, based on the European Union' s Accession initiative of April 16, 2003 in Athens, Greece]. Yet, in this instance, even Asia Minor is included.
The issue is false. Insincerity must be
questioned, and those who commit it must be brought to account. President
Valery Giscard d’Estaing is correct in his assessment. The facts are
evident in the light of day: First, a dependable alliance must be tested
on a rigorous and continual basis; and, when proven to endure, more cooperation
and privilege may be granted. What other nation of the European Union has
invaded, raped, and plundered its partners, as in the case of Cyprus vis-ŕ-vis
Greece? In any event, never must a false identity be endorsed: It is
certain that Turkey is not a European country. The fact that the
Ottoman influence invaded Europe, did not cause the latter to become Asia, nor
Asia to become Europe.
Besides, in the remnant of the dismantled Ottoman entity referred to as
Turkey, where is there evidence of a pervasive, lasting, and constructive
civilization deserving European identity? Europe remains Europe and Asia remains
Asia. Political fiat does not annul this reality. Contrary to the
Ottoman experience in Europe, a Hellenistic wholesome influence in Asia Minor is
the singular way by which, for the benefit of Europe and for the rest of the
world, the correct historical record of Ionia can endure.
Expansion of Western Civilization: from Constantine the Great to Constantinople and Byzantium and onward to America
is The AMERICAS