21 June, 2006
The decision of a Turkish public prosecutor to initiate legal action against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I appears to stem from a suit filed by an extreme political organisation with strongly anti-Patriarchate views, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters on Tuesday.
"We would like to believe that such an action does not enjoy more general support. Such events generate the interest and invite the attention of all member-states of the European Union, and of course of Greece," the spokesman added.
According to reports on Monday, a Turkish public prosecutor is conducting a preliminary investigation into the holding of an Orthodox religious service in Cappadocia last April and called on the Patriarchate "to submit as soon as possible and definitely within 10 days from the reception of the present document...the full identity, particulars and the addresses of the clerics who participated in the holding of the religious service."
The public prosecutor also requested a "certified copy" of article 4 of a 1935 Regulation that allows the Patriarch "to appear publicly outside churches and outside the time for performing holy services in ecclesiastical attire."
The investigation is taking place following a report by the representative of the "National Strength Platform" Kemal Kerinciz.
On April 29 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was greeted outside the church of Saint Theodore in Malakopi by about 40 members of the nationalist and militant "Grey Wolves" group who chanted "God is great" and raised their hands, forming the shape of the wolf with their fingers. The Patriarch entered the church and officiated at the church service.
Development Minister visits Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul : Greece's Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Tuesday paid a visit to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Fanar, Istanbul.
The Patriarch expressed his joy and satisfaction at the cooperation between Greece and Turkey in the development and energy sectors, wishing the minister success in his contacts with Turkish and European officials at a conference on energy issues that is taking place in the city.The conference will be inaugurated in Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Papandreou has telephone talks with Ecumenical Patriarch: Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou on Tuesday had a telephone conversation with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.
According to a party press release, Papandreou "expressed his full and steadfast support to the Patriarch, especially after recent negative developments and actions against the Patriarchate."
Papandreou also briefed Vartholomeos on his contacts with European leaders ahead of an EU Summit in Brussels last week and with Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. During his meetings, "Papandreou underlined the need for Turkey to respect the Patriarchate's role as well as the commitments it had undertaken including the respect of religious freedoms," the press release said.
Source: Athens News Agency