GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA August 8, 2006
NEW YORK – On Wednesday, August 2, 2006, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed an Assembly and Senate Joint Resolution urging the Government of Turkey to stop racial and religious discrimination, and immediately recognize the religious authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Christian Church. The State of New Jersey is the first State in the Union to pass such a Resolution, thus setting the tone for other States to follow in the renouncing of Turkey’s deplorable treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other minority religions within their country. Legislators Steve Corodemus, Upendra Chmukula, Joseph Kyrillos and Bob Smith sponsored the resolution.
The Governor and Legislature of the State of New Jersey call on the Government of Turkey to eliminate all forms of discrimination, particularly those based on race or religion, and to immediately grant the Ecumenical Patriarch appropriate international recognition, ecclesiastic succession and the right to train clergy of all nationalities. The State of New Jersey also requests the Government of Turkey to respect the property rights and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate without compromise and continue the advancement of processes and programs to modernize and democratize its own country, in light of its potential accession to the European Union.
His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos, the Metropolitan and Spiritual Leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, played a major role in mobilizing efforts for the successful passage and signing of the bill. In a letter to Governor Corzine, Metropolitan Evangelos noted, “As talks of Turkey’s accession into the European Union are underway, the citizens of New Jersey, through their elected officials, have a unique and historical opportunity to remind the Turkish Government of its intolerance regarding human, civic and religious rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all minority religions as well as its obligation to positively change their strategy and policy regarding such.”
According to Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, the National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew, an organization of leading Orthodox Christians in the United States dedicated to the support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, “As Americans, we are blessed to live in a country founded on religious freedom. We commend the Governor and the legislators of New Jersey for following the conscience of our founding fathers who championed the inalienable right of religious freedom.” Limberakis hopes that “every other state legislature would emulate New Jersey’s historic example and follow suit!”
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is the Spiritual Center of more than 3 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, and predates the existence of Turkey by 1,700 years. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the 270th Successor of the Holy Apostle Andrew.
For Immediate Release: August 7, 2006
Contact: Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos