September 15th, 2013
07:54 AM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorFollow @BurkeCNN
(CNN) - Heaven and Earth are said to meet atop Jerusalem’s sacred mounts, but the city’s stony streets have seen more than their share of violence.
King David subdued the Jebusites, the city's Canaanite founders. The Babylonians and Romans routed the Jews. Muslims booted the Byzantines. Christian Crusaders mauled Muslims and were, in turn, tossed out by the Tartars.
The Ottomans followed, then Britain, then Jordan, before finally, in 1967, the city came nearly full circle when Israel annexed East Jerusalem. That sparked another cycle of violence, this time between Israelis and Palestinians.
“It’s easily the most contentious piece of real estate in the world,” says Anthony Bourdain, who visits Jerusalem in the season premiere of “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” which debuts Sunday night on CNN.
“And there’s no hope - none - of ever talking about it without pissing someone off.”
July 13th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
By Effie Nidam, CNN
New York (CNN) - The sounds of hammers and saws fill the air in the small workshop of the Byzantion Woodworking Company in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. The smell of sawdust and wood polish is thick.
At the center of it all, woodworker Konstantinos Pilarinos lovingly chisels elaborate carvings destined for Greek Orthodox churches across the country.
“The pieces I make by hand, that people pray upon in church, are like my children,” he says.
A series of tragedies brought Pilarinos to this city and this profession.
April 22nd, 2011
04:42 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - It was two years in the making for a television crew to get access inside one of the holiest sites of the Greek Orthodox world, the monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece. The cluster of 20 monasteries has remained perched on the cliffs high above the Aegean Sea for centuries.
In the monasteries, also known collectively as the Holy Mountain or The Garden of the Mother of God, the monks spend most of their time in prayer and are purposefully isolated from the outside world.
"A woman hasn't been allowed on the mountain for over a thousand years," said Bob Simon, correspondent for CBS News' "60 Minutes."
February 15th, 2011
05:45 PM ET
By Chris Kokenes, CNN
A lawsuit claims that the owners of the World Trade Center reneged on an agreement for rebuilding a Greek Orthodox church destroyed in the collapse of the twin towers after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan, cites "...arrogance, bad faith, and fraudulent conduct" on the part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in an agreement that would have allowed St. Nicholas Church to rebuild at 130 Liberty St., adjacent to the church's original location.
December 10th, 2010
12:45 PM ET
By, Ivan Watson and Yesim Comert, CNN
Within the last 15 days, several Greek Orthodox bishops have crossed oceans and continents to travel to a police station in Istanbul where they picked up an unexpected gift: Turkish passports.
Since September, the Turkish government has granted passports and Turkish citizenship to at least 17 senior foreign clerics from the Greek Orthodox Church.
"This is a real surprise," said Father Dositheos Anagnostopulos, a spokesman for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in an interview with CNN on Friday.
October 19th, 2010
10:16 AM ET
Editor's note: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, is 270th successor of St. Andrew the apostle who founded the 2,000-year-old church of Constantinople. His work for environmental protection has earned him the title "Green Patriarch." He was named by Time magazine as one of the world's most influential people and has been honored with the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. The author of "Encountering the Mystery" and "In the World, Yet Not of the World," he is being honored October 19 by the interfaith organization The Temple of Understanding.
By Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Special to CNN
Last October, the Ecumenical Patriarchate convened an international, interdisciplinary and interfaith symposium in New Orleans on the Mississippi River, the eighth in a series of high-level conferences exploring the impact of our lifestyle and consumption on our planet's major bodies of water.
Similar symposia have met in the Aegean and Black Seas, in the Adriatic and Baltic Seas, along the Danube and Amazon Rivers, and on the Arctic.
At first glance, it may appear strange for a religious institution concerned with "sacred" values to be so profoundly involved in "worldly" issues. After all, what does preserving the planet have to do with saving the soul?
September 10th, 2010
05:58 PM ET
Editor's Note: CNN's Mary Snow and Alexia Mena bring us this report on the only place of worship destroyed on 9/11 and their hopes to rise at ground zero.
(CNN) - The unassuming three-story St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
The church had a congregation of about 70 families. They vowed to rebuild
September 9th, 2010
04:33 PM ET
Editor’s Note: CNN’s Mary Snow is filing a story tonight on the Situation Room about St. Nicholas Church, the only church destroyed at ground zero on 9/11. She filed this report from New York. You can watch Mary’s piece on the Situation Room today on CNN between 5pm-7pm EST and tell us what you think.
Here in New York City, there’s been much focus on the Cordoba House that’s near ground zero, but did you know there was a church destroyed on 9/11 that has yet to be rebuilt?
The Port Authority says, in essence, that a window has passed for the church to rebuild at a nearby location with tens of millions of dollars of public money because construction at a security center at ground zero couldn’t wait. Now, if the church wants to rebuild at its original location, it’ll have to wait until 2013, when construction is complete.
What do you think? Should a third party get involved to find a solution?
August 27th, 2010
12:28 PM ET
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the living embodiment of an ancient tradition. From his historic base in Istanbul, Turkey, the 270th Patriarch of Constantinople claims to be the direct successor of the Apostle Andrew.
Today he's considered "first among equals" in the leadership of the Greek Orthodox church, and is the spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians around the world. But few of them are in his own home country.
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