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Archons Urge Immediate Action to Prevent Extinction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

ARCHON ALERT


WESTFIELD, N.J., SEPTEMBER 17, 2005 -- At an assembly held at Holy Trinity Church, members of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle/Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul addressed the critical situation facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Christian community in Turkey and planned a course of action with U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez (D-13th NJ). The hope is that since Turkey will begin negotiating on October 3 to join the European Union, the EU will have the power to compel Turkey to reform its ways as a condition of membership.

National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis gave a computer slide presentation with photos that vividly illustrated the Turkish government's religious human rights abuses against the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Orthodox Christians during the past 70 years.

They included the government's arbitrary confiscation, with little or no compensation, of thousands of private properties belonging to the Ecumenical Patriarchate; refusing to recognize the Patriarchate as a legal entity that can own real estate, thus leaving its properties further vulnerable to seizure; prohibiting the re-opening of Halki Theological School, closed since 1971, thus preventing the education of local clergy while demanding that the Ecumenical Patriarch be a Turkish citizen and stringently restricting the comings and goings of clergy from the country; imposing a 42 percent tax, retroactive to 1999, on Balukli Hospital, a non-profit institution that serves thousands of Turkish citizens each year; and blocked the re-opening of the Patriarchate's publishing house. Unless these policies are reversed, the Orthodox Christian community in Turkey, dwindled from 200,000 in the 1920s to less than 2,000 today, is not expected to survive beyond another generation.

 


New Jersey Regional Commander Peter Kakoyiannis, who organized the event, invited Rep. Menendez to present the resolution he introduced in the House of Representatives in March. It urges Turkey to respect the rights and freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by recognizing its world-wide ecclesiastical role, allow the training of clergy of all nationalities, respect property rights, and in general protect the religious human rights of all its citizens, including the minorities. If the resolution passes, it can form the basis of the U.S. position toward Turkey, which will be critical to Turkey during its negotiations with the EU. The bill currently has 55 congressmen in support of it, and needs 218 votes to pass.

Rep. Menendez distributed copies of the bill to all who attended and helped develop an action plan to reach all representatives to secure their votes. In each congressional district whose representative does not support the bill, a group of at least one Archon, one member of Leadership 100 and a priest are urged to schedule a face-to-face meeting with the representative to present the situation: that the U.S. must require its ally to secure the values it promotes at home and throughout the world. The average member of Congress is presented with thousands of issues, and is unlikely to advocate one of them unless he or she hears from his or her constituents, he added.

Rep. Menendez, a 13-year veteran of the House, told of how his own parents fled their native Cuba to escape religious human rights violations under Fidel Castro's Communist regime. Perhaps the most compelling point to make, he said, is to ask the representatives to consider how they would feel if their own faith and practice were threatened with extinction.

"As Archons, we were charged with the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate," Kakoyiannis said. "The legacy we have to achieve is not to preside over the demise of our church."

Below is a list of representatives in support of the bill. Every Archon who does not see his representative on the list is urged to contact him or her immediately to arrange a meeting and insist that they sign on.

 


COSPONSORS, ALPHABETICAL
[* = original cosponsor]: (Change sort:, by party)
Cosponsor Statistics: 55 current (includes 2 original)

 

Rep Ackerman, Gary L.
[D-NY-5] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Andrews, Robert E.
[D-NJ-1] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Baca, Joe
[D-CA-43] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Becerra, Xavier
[D-CA-31] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Berkley, Shelley
[D-NV-1] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Berman, Howard L.
[D-CA-28] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Bilirakis, Michael
[R-FL-9] - 3/16/2005 *

 

Rep Blumenauer, Earl
[D-OR-3] - 7/28/2005

 

Rep Brown, Sherrod
[D-OH-13] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Capuano, Michael E.
[D-MA-8] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Cardoza, Dennis A.
[D-CA-18] - 4/26/2005

 

Rep Conyers, John, Jr.
[D-MI-14] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Crowley, Joseph
[D-NY-7] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Davis, Danny K.
[D-IL-7] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln
[R-FL-21] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario
[R-FL-25] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Eshoo, Anna G.
[D-CA-14] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Green, Gene
[D-TX-29] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Grijalva, Raul M.
[D-AZ-7] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Gutierrez, Luis V.
[D-IL-4] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Hinchey, Maurice D.
[D-NY-22] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Holt, Rush D.
[D-NJ-12] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Kennedy, Patrick J.
[D-RI-1] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Kildee, Dale E.
[D-MI-5] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Kirk, Mark Steven
[R-IL-10] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Langevin, James R.
[D-RI-2] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Lofgren, Zoe
[D-CA-16] - 5/5/2005

 

Rep Lowey, Nita M.
[D-NY-18] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Maloney, Carolyn B.
[D-NY-14] - 3/16/2005 *

 

Rep McCarthy, Carolyn
[D-NY-4] - 5/19/2005

 

Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G.
[R-MI-11] - 5/5/2005

 

Rep McGovern, James P.
[D-MA-3] - 4/26/2005

 

Rep McNulty, Michael R.
[D-NY-21] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Meehan, Martin T.
[D-MA-5] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Nadler, Jerrold
[D-NY-8] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Napolitano, Grace F.
[D-CA-38] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes
[D-DC] -
5/26/2005 

 

Rep Ortiz, Solomon P.
[D-TX-27] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr.
[D-NJ-6] - 5/5/2005

 

Rep Pastor, Ed
[D-AZ-4] - 5/19/2005

 

Rep Payne, Donald M.
[D-NJ-10] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Reyes, Silvestre
[D-TX-16] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana
[R-FL-18] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Rothman, Steven R.
[D-NJ-9] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille
[D-CA-34] - 7/20/2005

 

Rep Sanchez, Linda T.
[D-CA-39] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Schiff, Adam B.
[D-CA-29] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Schwarz, John J.H. "Joe"
[R-MI-7] - 5/5/2005

 

Rep Sherman, Brad
[D-CA-27] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Solis, Hilda L.
[D-CA-32] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Towns, Edolphus
[D-NY-10] - 6/16/2005

 

Rep Van Hollen, Chris
[D-MD-8] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Velazquez, Nydia M.
[D-NY-12] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Watson, Diane E.
[D-CA-33] - 4/26/2005

 

Rep Weiner, Anthony D.
[D-NY-9] - 5/26/2005

 

Rep Weiner, Anthony D.
[D-NY-9] - 5/26/2005