Monday, January 10, 2011

Run for Religious Freedom Marathon Stats

Cause: Run for Religious Freedom
Participant: Damianakis, Angela
Event: Walt Disney World Marathon Jan. 9, 2011
Female 42 yr. old
Distance: MARATHON 26.2 miles

Clock Time 4:27:32
Chip Time 4:23:01
Overall Place 3702 / 13522
Gender Place 1054 / 6267
Division Place 177 / 951
Age Grade 55.1%
5 Mile 48:12
10 Mile 1:37:30
Half Split 2:09:46
20 Mile 3:18:42

O.K. everyone this wasn't a personal record but it is completed. Please know there is always another marathon to take our cause to the streets. Please remember to donate through paypal is you believe this a worthy cause.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Run for Religious Freedom Marathon 2011

Run for Religious Freedom Marathon 2011 in upon us. What I hope to accomplish with this inaugural event is to empower a grassroots effort and telegraph bodly the message: We are tenacious, dedicated and persistent. Although we live the world seas away, we care about religious freedom and the right of our spiritual leader the Ecumenical Patriarch to be afforded all civil and human rights endowed to each of us by our Creator.

Stepping out despite my weakness or inexperience will provide a most valuable tool. It has already changed how I approach challenges in life. This is faith: the gap between ability and accomplishment. This training, this basic running rule, has shown me how to apply Biblical principles in everyday life. In the end we all must ask ourselves whom do we really serve in our behavior, by our conduct, with our effort; there is where our heart is. So I'm will lace up and get moving!!!

I will Dig Deep and shake the lead out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Defrocked Priest Converts to Sect

Background: To protect the family of this defrocked priest I have changed his name and voided overly specific dates and parish names. I discuss the facts which are pertinent and which serve to complete the picture of the deplorable state of the end of his priesthood and his joining a christian sect.

In the late 1980's, Sam enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology graduating with honors. Sam served as a member of the Sexual Misconduct Advisory Board for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA).

While Pastor at his California GO Parish, in 2002, he was granted permission from his bishop to sit on an interfaith Clergy Sexual Misconduct Review Board charged with advising the local bishop on policies related to clergy sexual misconduct.

After few years of service Sam resigned in a formal letter to his congregation, in which he acknowledged having ”strayed from faithfulness” to his wife, resulting in divorce. While Sam was never accused of sexual contact wtih minors he refused to comment whether the person or persons with whom he has sexual relations where part of his flock.

Sam was suspended from the priesthood in 2007 and was defrocked in 2008.

On November of this year 2010
Sam posted this on his Facebook status "For three and a half years ... Cathedral has been my spiritual home. It welcomed and cared for me in time of greatest need. It’s the place I stand authentically before God. Today, with a thankful heart, I was received into the Anglican Communion & Episcopal Church at a blessing service...".

What stuck me as sad and obvious state of personal defeat for Sam he received 15 'like' comments from his 'friends'. And many comments of congratulations. I can't really explain what welled up inside of me what I read prominent Orthodox church members falling over themselves to congratulate him.

I chose rather to reach out in a message:
"it was fortunate to stumble across your Facebook status. Elias would wish you warmest regards himself but he is in Brussels at the Religious Freedom Conference. I know many people close to you have offered their encouragement. i wish you the very best. you are thought of fondly here in our humble home. I will pray for your comfort and solace".

Sam's reply "Thank you and please extend by appreciation to"

My follow-up "Will do. I'm sorry for your difficulties but more so that you didn't find what you needed in the Holy Orthodox Church. How have you been what are you doing with yourself now? How is your family life? On a lighter note, my new blog has its official kickoff today i hope you visit and comment often!"

Sam's reply "Angela... Thanks for reaching out...I'm happier and more at peace with God, self and others, than ever in life. I'm the Executive Director of the Interfaith Council. Very fulfilling and relevant work. Spending long overdue time as a quality dad. Living and authentic life. Fascinating blog...I'm glad that you are undertaking this VERY needed project!"

THEN Sam's anger and resentment which sits just below the surface emerged. The end result I was 'defriended'.

Later that same week Sam posted this Facebook status prompting my seeking his council. "DUE TO THE OVERWHELMING RESPONSE, RESERVATIONS FOR .... 13th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast ARE NOW CLOSED...."

Christ is in our midst. I am interested in finding out from you with your broad knowledge base and understanding of orthodoxy (proper) and Protestant denominations why you think orthodox rallies, youth events, seminars and other events including service attendance tend to be a low representation of actual numbers. Why do you think other sects have stronger turnout.

I believe orthodox Christians are on even footing intellectually and are statistically more educated; have higher wages and strong family values. Orthodoxy also have the fullness of the faith so why the shortfalls? Thank you for your help.

In His service,


Sam's initial RESPONSE:"Crunch time at work...glad to help after the holidays...m
Ps. Sects is not a pc term"

ME: Sam whenever you can. I'm not concerned with PC as an appropriate mandate for private or public speech. PC speech is too arbitrary speaking little about an issue and more about cultural fads and trends based on geopolitical climates.. I'm interested in truth and understanding.
God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

Sam starts to escalate. RESPONSE: "I don’t consider myself to be part of a sect, in the same way that I don’t believe that the Orthodox Church has exclusive right to the kingdom. Exclusivity precludes the possibility for relationships with the other and is probably the reason that the Greek Orthodox Church and community continues to function in a ghetto".

ME: Now Sam that was spiteful. Exclusivity of the Kingdom how did you get there? God will save whom He wishes. I personally believe based on the church history dogma was basic tenants of the Faith (of which you are familiar) what saves those who seek outside the Faith are those aspects which are in common not contrary.

Sam slams the door in classic protestant form RESPONSE: "Thanks for reaching out. I really don't think that I can be of assistance to you.
Blessings to you and your family."
ME:Blessings to you also please know that my initial email I the thread was to gain insight. It was for my benefit not yours. I'm not trying convince you of anything. You know Orthodoxy doesn't function like that. If you lost confidence in the church because of your short comings (which we all have and all have to come to terms with) then you have chosen the long way and unlike others who think. Congratulations are in order I'll simply note your overwhelming pain and disappointment and light a candle for you. I'm not trying to offend or anger you. You chose rather to sling mud. After your second email I went to the dictionary and sect would apply. I'm disturbed that you would say that the Greek Orthodox Church is in the ghetto is that what you found when you professed the faith. I'm sorry your pride infected you that you somehow blame the church for your pain. The prodigal first had to find his condition to be lacking so much so that be returned as a hired hand.
If I don't hear from you again I'm sorry for your loss which is apparent.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Turkish Cabinet Minister Official Visit to Ecumenical Patriarchate

ANKARA, Turkey - A senior Cabinet minister on Monday became the highest-level Turkish official to visit the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in more than half a century, symbolizing government pledges to address problems of religious minorities and strengthen the country's European Union membership bid.

Turkey for decades has ignored demands of the Patriarchate due to mistrust stemming from rivalry with Greece. But Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc's visit coincided with government promises to consider reopening a seminary that trained generations of Ecumenical Patriarchs and returning properties confiscated by the state to Christian and Jewish minority foundations.
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, is striving to join the European Union, but faces criticism that it discriminates against non-Muslim citizens and Alevis, a Muslim minority sect. The European Commission's 2010 progress report cited restrictions on the training of clergy and other religious practices. The Islamic-rooted government seeks to promote religious freedom, loosening tight state controls that are a legacy of Turkey's secular founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Arinc entered the Patriarchate from a side gate and passed by a decorated Christmas tree in the rain-washed marble courtyard before sitting under an icon of Jesus Christ together with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Dogan news agency video showed.
The main entrance remains welded shut out of respect for Patriarch Gregory V, who was accused of conspiring against the Ottoman Empire and was hanged from it in 1821. Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, was the capital of Christian Byzantium before falling to Muslim Turkish forces in 1453.

Two ministers visited the patriarchate in the past two years, but Arinc is the highest ranking government official to visit since Prime Minister Adnan Menderes in 1952. Menderes was later hanged after a military coup.

"Today is a very happy day for us," said Bartholomew. "It has strengthened our hopes."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government recently "surprised" the Patriarchate by granting Turkish citizenship to 14 senior clerics from North and South America as well as Hong Kong, South Korea and Crete and separately returned control of a 19th-century orphanage to the Patriarchate, said Father Dositheos Anagnostopulos, a spokesman for the Patriarchate.

About eight more clerics were still waiting for Turkish citizenship, a requirement for anyone who succeeds the elderly Bartholomew.

The patriarch had complained to Erdogan in August that the closure of the Halki seminary in 1971 prevented raising new leaders for the church and made it difficult for the dwindling Greek community of several thousand to produce any candidates.

"It is our duty to meet the just demands of our citizens who have lived in this country for centuries," Arinc said. "We will try to meet them from a legal point of view."

He stressed that no decision has been made yet but the government was "determined" to give rights to minorities.

Turkey's government is also taking steps toward the return of property confiscated from minorities in the 1970s. But it is not clear whether they would be allowed to reclaim property that has been sold or whether they would be compensated for the loss of such properties.

Bartholomew hailed the government's reforms as "openings for democracy and further westernization of Turkey" but said the measures fell short of expectations.
"They are not 100 per cent satisfactory. We expect new and more progressive steps on these issues," Bartholomew said. "Of course, we expect the reopening of the seminary. It is the 40th anniversary of its closure this year."

The Halki Theological School on Heybeliada Island, near Istanbul, was closed to new students in 1971 under a law that put religious and military training under state control. The school closed its doors in 1985, when the last five students graduated.

"The visit by the deputy prime minister to our Patriarchate has both excited us and raised our hopes for a solution to our problems," said Laki Vingas, a member of the Greek Orthodox community.

Halki Seminary Re-opening Underconsideration Ankara, Turkey

Turkey says it is considering Orthodox demand to reopen seminary after 40-year closure. The Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey says it is considering a demand by the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate for the reopening of a seminary that trained generations of Ecumenical Patriarchs.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says "we will try to meet them from a legal point of view." He spoke Monday during a courtesy New Year visit to Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.

Bartholomew hailed Turkey's overtures toward minorities as "openings for democracy and westernization." He said he hopes the seminary can be reopened this year, 40 years after its closure.

Turkey recently granted citizenship to several senior clerics at the church — a requirement for the aging Bartholomew's successor — and separately returned control of a 19th-century orphanage to the Patriarchate.

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