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Archbishop Demetrios Condemns Hostile Demonstrations Against Our Ecumenical Patriarchate

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America condemns hostile demonstrations against the Ecumenical Patriarchate (photograph by Demetri Panagos)NEW YORK - Archbishop Demetrios of America has expressed his deepest sorrow and his strong and unequivocal condemnation for the most recent hostile demonstrations and threats against the holy center of world Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in Istanbul, Turkey.

This latest assault took place last Thursday, October 28, when groups of Turkish nationalists and other extreme elements demonstrated in Phanar against the Ecumenical Patriarchate chanting slogans such as "one night we'll come to the Phanar," "go away Patriarch," "Patriarch don't test our patience," "take the Patriarchate and go to Greece," and the like. Before police intervened, the angry demonstrators reached the entrance to the Patriarchal compound, and placed a black wreath in front of the gate.

Archbishop Demetrios in his statement of condemnation said, "I express my deepest sorrow for the events that transpired outside of our Ecumenical Patriarchate last Thursday. The actions of these Turkish extremists-nationalists are appalling and condemnable in and by any civilized country. These are actions against a holy institution which survived and lives on through the centuries. It's an institution highly respected by the entire civilized world. These demonstrators are short changing themselves and Turkey, as they paint a picture of uncivilized, petty, narrow-minded people."

"As a Church and as Orthodox in America, we are in spirit and in prayer by the side of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, and we stand in full support with love and care towards our Mother Church as we are reassured that He Who has many times saved this Patriarchate and has protected it in difficult times will once again be next to our Ecumenical Patriarch and the Fathers of the Great Church of Christ and He will lead this crisis to a favorable result according to the teachings of our Lord, that God, 'will not break a bruised reed, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory' (Matt. 12:20)."