Washington, D.C. policy makers, think-tank professionals, diplomats, aid workers, members of Congress, and concerned citizens from all faiths, participated in the Second Annual Saint Andrew’s Human Rights and Religious Freedom Reception.
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of The Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. On Nov. 30 each year – the Feast Day of Saint Andrew — the Eastern and Western Churches venerate St. Andrew, the first called Apostle.
At the time of the spread of Christianity in the 1st-Century, St. Andrew established the Patriarchal See of the Orthodox Church at the ancient city of Byzantium, which later became Constantinople and is today called Istanbul, Turkey.
On the Feast Day of St. Andrew a Human Rights and Religious Freedom Reception is held to acknowledge the continuing struggle of The Ecumenical Patriarchate to secure full rights and dignity within modern day Turkey and to reflect as well on the broader state of religious freedom and human rights the world over.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is the Holy Center of the Orthodox Christian Church, which is the world’s second largest Christian Church, larger than the Anglican Church and second only to the Catholic Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, including six million Americans. The title Ecumenical signifies the Ecumenical Patriarch’s pre-eminent role in the spiritual guidance of the Orthodox Church.
His All Holiness Bartholomew is the current Ecumenical Patriarch, serving as the 270th successor to St. Andrew, although Turkey have for more than a century denied fundamental religious freedom to The Ecumenical Patriarchate and continue to deny fundamental human rights and dignity to the Orthodox Church.
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