On March 19, 2019, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the attacks on mosques in New Zealand. Erdogan wrote: “I categorically reject any attempt to associate last week’s terrorist attacks with the teachings, morals or maxims of Christianity.” Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Washington Post in response to Erdogan.
To the editor:
Until Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stops assaulting the religious freedom of the Spiritual Head of the second largest Christian Church in the world, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Orthodox Christianity, who is headquartered in Istanbul, he has no right to opine as a friend of Christianity in an Op Ed in the Washington Post.
Described by a major American leader as “one of the two most Christlike people I have ever met,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the 269th direct successor of Christ’s first Apostle Andrew, who preached in what is today Turkey. His All-Holiness was the first religious leader to move Muslim leaders to condemn 9/11 as an “anti-religious act,” and one of the few to receive the US Congress’ highest award, the Congressional Gold Medal.
Yet President Erdogan refuses to: return thousands of confiscated properties back to the Church; recognize the Ecumenical Patriarch as more than a local bishop; or reopen the Patriarchal seminary of Halki. President Erdogan’s treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarch has created an atmosphere in Turkey such that death threats have been all too frequent.
Until President Erdogan changes his dangerously anti-Christian treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarch, he has no credibility on the world stage.
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate