By Nick Stamatakis

During the last 24 hours my email’s inbox was flooded with numerous editions of the news from Turkey that a dangerous article was published in one of the most pro-government and nationalistic publications of the country spewing hatred against many groups of people accused of supporting Fetullah Gulen, among whom was the Ecumenical Patriarch.  These threats are nothing new, they have been going on for a very long time and should not be a surprise.

During the many decades after WWII, when the Patriarchate was under the direct protection of the American President and the State Department, no agreements were established between the US and Turkey to protect religious freedom in this country and specifically protect the Patriarchate.  Even more shameful was the inability of the US authorities to restore the operation of the theological school, after the Turks banned the Halki Seminary in 1971.  If the US was unable to impose on Turkey such a simple act of justice and reason, especially when Turkey was completely dependent on NATO for its security umbrella, why do we think that the current administration will be able to accomplish it?

We think that it may be possible because President Trump, in the case of pastor Andrew Branson, proved for all of us to see the effect that the application of the enormous american financial power can have on the fragile Turkish economy; this economy is even more fragile now, at the brink of collapse, as we see in the news… And Turkish president Erdogan has already started pleading for a bailout for his ravaged economy… Will the many friends Karloutsos supposedly has in the State Department, will they finally, after so many years, bear any results on this? I am not holding my breath.

I have also been noting for the last three years that the actions of both Patriarch Bartholomew and Karloutsos constitute a departure from the behavior of previous leaders in their positions.  Previous Patriarchs and their representatives in America were supportive of american foreign policy in a low-key way, very much in compliance with their religious role.  But in the last few years Bartholomew and Karloutsos decided that it would be beneficial to act as if they were State Dept. or CIA operatives, especially in their role in the recognition of Autocephaly for a small part (20-25%) of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.  A direct result of their ill-advised actions was the constant violence, practiced mostly by the “autocephalous” minority against the majority of the Ukrainian Orthodox, who belong to the Metropolis of Kiev under Onufryi (under the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate) as we have been reporting.  If Patriarch Bartholomew could not establish “religious freedom guarantees” for all Orthodox faithful in Ukraine, why does he think that Erdogan should  guarantee his freedom in Turkey? Especially now that Erdogan is allied with Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly shown his strong interest for the Russian Church and his Orthodox brothers in Ukraine? And, as we all know, he is interested to see that the Russian Church will one day achieve primacy in Orthodoxy…

Tough questions that, unfortunately, will remain unanswered…

May 11, 2020,



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