Briefly noted

European-based Christian groups are backing Patriarch Bartholomeos I, seen by many of the world’s Orthodox Christians as their spiritual leader, after he was called to testify in a Turkish court for allegedly violating an order barring him from using his traditional title of “Ecumenical Patriarch.” In a letter released August 30, Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, said “you have our firm support.” A Turkish court ruled in June that the Istanbul-based patriarchate was authorized to perform religious functions only for Turkey’s 6,000-member Greek Orthodox community and as such had no right to call itself “ecumenical,” though Christians say the appellation goes back to the sixth century. Turkey regards the title as having political overtones that could undermine Turkish sovereignty.


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