Archons Closer To Passing Initiative for Religious Freedom in Turkey

L-R: Indiana AHEPA Member Matthew Kochevar, Metropolis of Chicago Media Relations Director John Ackerman, Fr William Bartz, Charles Kallas, Archon Chris Rongos, Indiana Lt Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana State Representative Robert Morris, Metropolis of Detroit Chancellor Fr Dean Hountalas, Fr Andrew Walsh, Fr Lucas Christensen, Indiana AHEPA Member Nick Kavadas, and Archon Frank Lagouros

Indiana is now the 45th State to fully pass the Religious Freedom resolutions in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and the Metropolis of Detroit, under the leadership of Metropolitan Nicholas announced that Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb endorsed the Religious Freedom Resolution.

In 2006, the Order of Saint Andrew (Archons) initiated the Religious Freedom Resolution project. The goal of this project, the Religious Freedom Initiative, is the adoption of Religious Freedom Resolutions in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in each individual state within the US.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the spiritual center of over 330 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Based in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) Turkey, since the founding of the church by the Apostle Andrew, today the Patriarchate faces dangers that could bring an end to the institution.

The five key issues the Resolution calls attention to are:

Government Interference in Election of Ecumenical Patriarchate — The Turkish government insists on approving the selection of the Ecumenical Patriarch and insists that the Patriarch must be a Turkish citizen.

Non-recognition of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as the worldwide spiritual leader of the Orthodox and treating him as simply a local priest.

Re-opening of the Theological School of Halki, closed by the Turkish government since 1971 and where many past Patriarchs have been trained.

No Legal Identity for Ecumenical Patriarchate — inhibiting the Patriarchate from taking any formal actions in Turkey in its own name and forcing the Patriarchate to use surrogates for owning property and other administrative affairs.

Confiscation of Property — without a legal identity, the Turkish government claims property owned by the Patriarchate for centuries has been abandoned, and then confiscates the property.

The Metropolis of Chicago oversees all Greek parishes within Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota as well as eastern Missouri and northwestern IndianWhile the Metropolis of Detroit oversees all Greek Orthodox Parishes in Michigan, Arkansas, and Kentucky, as well as eastern and southern Indiana, western Ohio, western Tennessee, and upstate New York.