Greek Orthodox Clergy Meet with MN Governor and State Senator

Source: Orthodox Christian Network

St. Paul, MN, August 23, 2016

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Metropolis
of Chicago, was invited to meet privately with Minnesota
Governor Mark Dayton at his residence in St Paul. Bishop
Demetrios was accompanied by Rev. Richard Andrews of St
George Greek Orthodox Church in St Paul, Rev. Tim Sas of
Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth and
Rev. George Dokos of St Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church
in Minneapolis, along with Metropolis Media Relations
Director John Ackerman and Executive Assistant to the
Bishop William Kallas.

While the main focus of the meeting was an opportunity for
the Governor and Bishop to become better acquainted,
Bishop Demetrios also took the opportunity to press
Governor Dayton for passage in Minnesota of the Order of
Saint Andrew (Archons) Resolution in support of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Minnesota is
one of two states within the oversight of the Metropolis
of Chicago that has yet to pass this important resolution
in support of our faith. Governor Dayton expressed
interest in the resolution and pledged to seriously review
and consider the issue.

Minnesota State Senate President Sandy
Pappas

The group also meet with Minnesota
State Senate President Sandy Pappas while the Bishop
was in Minneapolis/St Paul and requested her support.
Senator Pappas was the guest of the Bishop’s at
the Greek Festival at St George Greek Orthodox Church
in St Paul Saturday evening. Senator Pappas committed
to sponsoring the Archon Resolution in the spring of
2017 Legislative Session. She stated while she was
familiar with the Archon Resolution, her visit with
Bishop Demetrios and his request for passage of this
important resolution has increased her commitment see
Minnesota join the 44 other states that have already
passed the Archon Resolution.

Order of Saint Andrew (Archons) and Religious
Freedom Resolution

In 2006, the Order of Saint Andrew (Archons) initiated the
Religious Freedom
Resolution
project. The goal of this
project, which represents one component of the overall,
multi-faceted Religious Freedom Initiative, is the
adoption of Religious Freedom Resolutions in support of
the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in each
individual state within the United States. The project
has been overseen nationally by Archon Stephen
Georgeson. To date, 44 of the 50 states have passed
resolutions as part of this national effort.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the
spiritual center of over 330 million Orthodox Christians
worldwide, making Orthodoxy the second largest tradition
within Christianity. Based in Istanbul (formerly,
Constantinople), Turkey, since the founding of the church
by the Apostle Andrew, elder brother of Apostle Peter and
first of the disciples of Christ, today the Ecumenical
Patriarchate faces dangers that, if left unchecked, could
bring an end to this historic religious institution. The
five key issues the Resolution calls attention to are:

  1. 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.
  2. Non-recognition of Ecumenical Patriarch
    Bartholomew
    as the worldwide spiritual leader
    of the Orthodox and treating him as simply a local
    priest.
  3. Re-opening of the Theological School of
    Halki
    , closed by the Turkish government since
    1971 and where many past Patriarchs have been trained.
  4. 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 , and
  5. 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 is under the leadership of
Metropolitan Iakovos and oversees all Greek Orthodox
Parishes within Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota as
well as eastern Missouri and northwestern Indiana.

“Since the beginning of this initiative by the
Archons, as each state that has passed this resolution
which has brought increased attention to this issue, we
have seen progress towards addressing many of these
concerns” stated Bishop Demetrios. “The State
of Indiana could further add to this progress and
increased attention.”

“This issue is not one European Nation in conflict
with another but rather one nation placing restrictions
and limitations on the ability of a worldwide spiritual
leader” Metropolis Media Director John Ackerman
explained. “The Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople is the spiritual leader of over 330 million
Christians worldwide. As such, we ask the legislature and
more importantly the citizens of Minnesota to join us in
calling on the Turkish Government to ensure Religious
Freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople.”

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