His Holiness with Mahmoud Abbas (1935- ) earlier today in Moscow… the Mother Church stands foursquare for Palestinian statehood… not the racist Zionist colonialist position backed by the rightwing and “Evangelicals” in the USA (but the Church is also against anti-Semitism, let’s be clear here). Keep this in mind whenever you hear Paffhausen, Potapov, Reardon, et al laud the American extremist rightwing… the Mother Church does NOT support such moonshine…
Patriarch Theodoros Horeftakis of Alexandria and all Africa, Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian National Authority, and Serbian tennis player Novak Đoković won the annual award of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples, according to RIA-Novosti. Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias headed the 12th annual awards ceremony at Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
Patriarch Kirill noted that Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria is the First Hierarch of one of the oldest Local Churches and a well-known missionary, who spreads the gospel among the indigenous peoples of Africa. His Holiness noted that Egypt is quite unstable today, “in this sense, the role of religious leaders in contemporary Egypt is particularly important, and particularly relevant, because they can contribute to overcoming these destructive sectarian divisions”. Then, Patriarch Kirill paid tribute to Mahmoud Abbas for helping Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land and in promoting inter-religious peace in Palestine. Finally, Vladyki Kirill noted the contributions of Novak Đoković to the restoration of Orthodox holy sites in Serbia, including Kosovo. The Serbian Orthodox Church nominated Đoković for the award. Since Đoković is now at the Australian Open tennis championship, he sent his thanks for this honour to the Patriarch and the Foundation in a video.
The Award of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Nations has gone to heads of states, politicians, parliamentarians, and Orthodox hierarchs, and eminent figures in society and culture. Since 2009, the Award has borne the name of the late Patriarch Aleksei Rediger, who headed the board of trustees of the Foundation from its inception in 1995, until his death in December 2008. Among previous prize-winners were the presidents of Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Greece, Estonia, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Cyprus, the First Hierarchs of the Local Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Cyprus, the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and other figures from around the world.
21 January 2012
The so-called “International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples” seems to be a minor outfit dedicated solely to handing out this single award. A friend of mine aptly described it as “a Grade-Z knockoff of the Foundation of St Andrew the First-Called that never quite made it off the ground”. One usually doesn’t hear of this group in the Russian media, either secular or religious, except for this one event. As for its supposed ties to Patriarch Aleksei of Happy Memory, it’s well-known that His Holiness is a member or ex officio chairman of many bodies. To be blunt, most of these are only pro forma, and this is one of those.
In 2010, John Behr went to Moscow to pick up this award for SVS… only oca.org didn’t deign to tell anyone what Mr Behr did with the 50,000 USD (1.57 million Roubles. 38,700 Euros. 32,000 UK Pounds) prize that went with the award. Did he spend it on expensive dinners for himself and his wife at oligarch watering holes recommended by Dickie Wood (remember the photos of Dickie caught at the oligarch party last year?)? Oh, yes… one last detail before I go… when Mr Behr picked up this award, he was left out of the personal private audience that His Holiness had with President Medvedev, Catholicos Karekin, and Emir Nemanja Kusturica before the actual ceremony… he wasn’t important enough (or he was a last-minute addition not vetted by His Holiness?). Not unimportant, no?