AHEPA Applauds Papal Visit to Ecumenical Patriarchate, Historical Visit is Vistal
to Orthodox Christians

Washington, D.C. - Statement by AHEPA Supreme President Gus J. James, II, about the meeting of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Pope Benedict XVI on November 29 and 30, 2006:

"As an organization that has historically supported the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its mission, we welcome the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy See of Orthodox Christians worldwide. We view the meeting of Pope Benedict with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as historic and as a 'next step' toward efforts to further develop Orthodox-Catholic relations.

Equally important is the Pope's visit to Turkey because it will place important emphasis on freedom and equality for all Religions in Turkey, which is crucial for Turkey's path to the European Union. This is a direction we support based upon Turkey fulfilling all the necessary criteria as outlined by the European Union.

Furthermore, we applaud the statement issued jointly by the Patriarch and the Pope and reported by Agence France-Presse that "religious freedom must be a criterion for membership in the EU, which must ensure that its members respect the rights of their religious minorities."

Annually, the international president of AHEPA leads a large delegation of Americans of Hellenic descent to Turkey to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate and offer the Patriarch support. The next trip is scheduled for May 2007.

(Posting date 09 December 2006

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its scope is international with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus, and "sister" chapters in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of AHEPA Australasia. AHEPA was founded on July 26, 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism that emerged in early 20th century American society. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into society. Today, AHEPA brings the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence to the community. The AHEPA family consists of four organizations: AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena. For more information about the organization or how to join, contact AHEPA Headquarters (202-232-6300) or visit the organization's newly redesigned website at http://www.ahepa.org.

HCS maintains an extensive archives of AHEPA articles and press releases which readers are invited to browse under the AHEPA Family Releases section of the site archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/archiveahepa.html.

2000 Hellenic Communication Service, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.