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The Tolerance of Islam

If you missed this 60 Minutes segment, and have the leisure, it's worth observing the fate of Christianity in one of its earliest outposts outside the Holy Land - in a country many have described as perhaps the most secular, enlightened, and modern of Muslim states, one that has repeatedly sought entry to, first, the Common Market and now to the European Union. This is the story of Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and primate to the world's 300,000,000 Orthodox Christians. In it you will see some of the oldest Christian structures in existence, and its most ancient artwork. Some of the frescoes are instantly recognizable. As the camera takes you through the churches, the monasteries, and the schools - all mostly museums now (the Hagia Sofia is one, built a 1,000 years before St. Peter's) - you can feel the spirits of those ancient converts who built the faith, and ultimately the civilization we know as Christendom, pressing upon the present. If Bartholomew is right about a "resurrection," then maybe the work of our first brothers and sisters in the faith is not done yet. As of now, though, only 4,000 Christians remain in Turkey. It's a cause for sadness; it is also an abomination.

The Patriarchate's website is here.

There is one 30 second commercial interruption.

Comments (12)

Fascinating report. Of course, good little Protestants well-educated in church history _do_ know that the Apostle Paul founded most of his churches in Asia Minor and that this is modern-day Turkey.

The "letter from Mohammed" (if we assume it to be genuine) is a good political playing piece, but of course the persecution of Christians in Muslim lands and their second-class, dhimmi status is not _contrary_ to Mohammed's wishes and practice.

I have heard it argued that the closure of the seminary was a result of anti-religious, indeed almost communistic, policies on the part of the Turkish government rather than anything to do with Islam. The same person who made this argument proposed an "exchange" whereby radical Muslims would have greater freedom in Turkey in exchange for the re-opening of the seminary. Why does this not sound like a good idea to me?

Sadly, this persecution of Christians will not impede the entry of Turkey into the EU. Rather, the bureaucrats in Brussels, directing the suicide of the West, will view this 500+ year Muslim oppression as a positive as they too seek to eradicate Christianity and its morality from Europe.

I have heard it argued that the closure of the seminary was a result of anti-religious, indeed almost communistic, policies on the part of the Turkish government rather than anything to do with Islam.

Well, Islam could distance itself from this anti-religious, communistic past simply by re-enfranchising the seminaries.

And of course I love the moral equivalence that proposes an "exchange," as though Orthodox seminary graduates and radical Muslims were the same sort of creature.

I think it was more a deep-dyed cynicism than relativism--as in, "Oh, heck, let those darned Muslims do what they want, just give us back our seminary." But that's a very dangerous kind of cynicism. Besides, ignorant as I may be, I find it hard to "buy" the idea that Islam has nothing to do with what's going on in Turkey today or that the current government is really secular.

A fabulous history lesson - succinctly put-
Not many today realize that Christianity came before Islam.
This post will be linked-with an h/t to you...thank you!

I'm completely amazed that this religious leader who has lived in Turkey his whole life seems even less educated about Islam than most of my fellow countrymen. How is this possible!?

He seems confused and baffled about why the Muslims of Turkey are treating the Christians the way they do.

And a letter from Mohammad offering peace and tolerance? Give me a break. Become a dhimmi -- become a heavily-burdened second-class citizen -- and we won't kill you outright. That's the deal, and it wouldn't be what anyone in the free world would be considered a letter of tolerance and peace.

I read something similar about a Christian leader in Iraq:


He knew nothing about Islam! I'm more than baffled. I am outraged. Is it natural selection? All the Christians who had a clue have already fled?

I'll tell you one moment in the interview that comes back to me repeatedly is his quoting Phil. 1:29--"To you it has been given...not only to believe on him but also to suffer for his sake." He quotes it in such a simple and natural way. It's part of his mental furniture.

It is true that the closure was motivated by an across the board policy. That does not imply that its aim was not in part to hamstring the Patriarchate. Please note that the Turkish state levies a 75% property tax on the church's property. It doesn't do so for Mosques which shows how facile the lin is that the policy wasn't meant to target the Patriarchate. There are a number of other policies that aim at eliminating the Patriarchate and then there are actions like leveling monasteries owned by the church with little or no warning as happaned about a year or so ago.

Something else the 60 min presentation left out about St. Catherine's is that the Muslims required that they build a osque inside the compouned, which was a condition of tolerance.

Also of note was that during the Armenian Genocide, the Turks liquidatged about 500,000 Greeks in Turky too and then about another 250,000 during the 1950's I believe. Such is our NATO ally. If the Allies had supported a re-taking of Constantinople in WW1, the world would be very different and we wouldn't be having this discussing.

BTW, there is an hour long Charlie Rose interview as well.

Has anyone else had trouble playing this more than once? I got it to play the other day, but now it just stops before even playing the commercial. Perhaps only allows a limited number of views?

Thanks for the additional info., Perry. It did seem to me that purely from the perspective of reportage, a greater number of specifics about how the Orthodox are treated as second-class, etc., would have been useful in the report. As it was, the viewer who had little information might just think of it as vague victimology.

Beautiful artwork and history. Too bad that once this man is gone, it will most likely be destroyed and replaced with a Mosque, as is the policy of Islam.. For those of you defending Islam, the genocide taking place world wide is at the hands of those practitioners. You need to do more reading.. And yes Christianity came first, the Islamic recognize Jesus only as a profit. But they look upon all religions other than their own as being against Allah.. And that is the foundation of their movement around the world. It is not just a religion but a political movement.. And if you read the Qu'ran, you will find that there is nothing peaceful about it.. The letter from Mohamed is impressive, but he in his own words in the Qu'ran instructs the followers of Islam that is is perfectly okay to lie to the Ka'fir, because they are no better than cattle.. For those of you who don't know the term, it is applied freely to all those who do not practice Islam, no matter what religion they do practice. And no there is no tolerance for other religions allowed.

They don't think of his as "their Pope"; they don't like the idea of a centralized church.
Or gay marriage. Or women clergy.

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