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Politics

Indiana House of Representatives Unanimously Passes HR28, Archon Resolution

February 28, 2018

CHICAGO, IL – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and the Metropolis of Detroit, currently both under the leadership of Metropolitan Nicholas, together with Order of Saint Andrew (Archon) Regional Commanders Gus M. Pablecas, John G. Manos, and Lazaros Kircos, are proud to announce passage today of Indiana HR28, the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle’s Religious Freedom Resolution for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

This successful joint effort to gain passage in Indiana of the Archon Resolution was announced in the fall of 2016. By the spring of 2017, the Indiana Senate responded with passage of SR2 following several media presentations at Greek Orthodox parishes in Northern Indiana. However, the Indiana House did not have enough time for passage in 2017. Now, thanks to the support of Indiana Representative Robert Morris and the hard work of Fort Wayne Archon Chris Rongos, the Indiana House of Representatives has joined the cause. The Governor of Indiana has previously committed to supporting the resolution once both legislative branches finalized their support.

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. Indiana has yet to join this group, in part because the state is divided between the jurisdictions of the Metropolis of Chicago and Metropolis of Detroit. Thanks to this joint effort by both Metropolises, Indiana is just a step away from becoming the 45th state to pass this important resolution.

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 the 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 oversees all Greek Orthodox Parishes within Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota as well as eastern Missouri and northwestern Indiana. The Metropolis of Detroit is under the leadership of Metropolitan Nicholas and 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.

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