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Vasile Banescu, a spokesman for the Romanian Patriarchate, denounced billboards depicting doctors and nurses as “saints” with coronavirus-shaped halos as a blasphemous “visual mistreatment of Christian iconography” on Wednesday.
The posters, created by Romanian artist Wanda Hutira for the McCann Worldgroup ad agency’s “Thank you doctors” campaign and posted throughout Bucharest, have also offended the Medical Guild, Banescu said, reports the Romanian Church’s Basilica News Agency.
The scandalous images combine eclectic elements of Indian religious art and Orthodox iconography. In one image, a character wearing a robe, goggles, stethoscope, and mask, blesses with his right hand, as does Christ in Orthodox iconography, while holding a medical chart in his left. In another, a nurse is depicted with several hands, as in images of the god Shiva, the creator and destroy of the universe in Hindu mythology.
All the characters have halos in the shape of the coronavirus.
Banescu responded strongly: “I think this is a ridiculous campaign to promote a dystopian vision of the situation caused by the pandemic; an embarrassing attempt at symbolic theft and visual mistreatment of Christian iconography, marked by bad taste fed by ignorance and a hideous ideology that only knows how to caricature Christianity.”
The images are an affront to the hard-working doctors and nurses themselves, Banescu believes: “It is not just a blasphemous act but also an insult to the very honorable profession of doctors who, like all of us, do not think they are saints or improvised saviors and do not demand a public cult.”
Bucharest city hall said it would ask the advertising firm to remove the billboards, “which could be replaced with images that bring homage to hero doctors without offending the faith of passersby,” reports Reuters.
“[They’re] a daring artistic choice but one which is in no way following a political, religious or any other kind of purpose,” McCann Romania said in a statement.
Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira is accused of the fact that during the service the doors of the temple were open to all comers, and the bell rang before the service.
On March 21, 2020, it became known that the mayor of the Greek city of Kythira, Stratos Harhalakis, ordered the arrest of Metropolitan Seraphim (Stergiulis) of Kythira and Antikythera for performing the Divine Liturgy, reports Lifo.gr publication.
According to the publication, Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira was arrested after having performed the worship in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Exaltation, contrary to the decision of the authorities that banned all religious rites in the country due to the coronavirus.
Moreover, as emphasized in the publication, the doors of the temple were open to all comers, and the bell rang before the service.
The decision to arrest the metropolitan "disturbed public opinion and wakened the mayor’s anger." He stated that "no one can be above the law."
The metropolitan, arriving at the island’s police station, told the police that he had not yet received the encyclical sent by Archbishop Hieronymos. In the end, the hierarch was released by order of the general official but proceedings were initiated against him.
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that due to the coronavirus, Greek authorities banned all services, but the Synod of the Church of Greece decided that Sunday services would continue, albeit in an abridged form.
Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira arrested for performing worship - UOJ - the Union of Orthodox Journalists
PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW DISCUSSES AUTOCEPHALY WITH NORTH MACEDONIAN POLITICIANS
Istanbul, January 14, 2020
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople received a number of North Macedonian politicians yesterday to discuss the matter of the autocephaly of the schismatic “Macedonian Orthodox Church.”
According to the Greek outlet Romfea, the Patriarch met with Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski, his predecessor Zoran Zaev, and their assistants Dane Talevski and Dejan Sotirovsky, at the politicians’ initiative. Pat. Bartholomew was accompanied by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Metropolitan Maximos of Silibria, Metropolitan Amphilochios of Adrianople, and other clerics and representatives of the Patriarchate.
The Orthodox Church is represented in North Macedonia by the canonical Ohrid Archdiocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, though the majority of citizens belong to the breakaway MOC, which is seeking for autocephaly from the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the example of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Pat. Bartholomew and the North Macedonian representatives decided the Patriarchate will invite representatives of the Serbian Church and of the unrecognized MOC to the Patriarchal residence in Istanbul for consultations and an attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution.
The Prime Ministers and their associates expressed their respect and trust in the Patriarchate of Constantinople following the “warm and sincere” discussion. Zoran Zaev earlier stated that he was prepared to offer Pat. Bartholomew a cash bribe to receive autocephaly for the MOC.
“Hierarchs” of the MOC have repeatedly expressed their belief that they will receive autocephaly from Constantinople in the near future, including as recently as January 7.
“The Ecumenical Patriarchate officially confirmed that it has not given up on the desire to resolve the issue of the autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, despite the opposition of the Serbian and Russian Orthodox Churches,” writes the North Macedonian outlet Religija.
“During the talk, the previous stages of the discussion were raised, including the request of the Church [the MOC—Ed.] to return to the canonical name of the Archdiocese of Ohrid, in accordance with a timely request for an appeal on its part,” the Religija report reads.
In September 2018, Pat. Bartholomew declared that he would never recognize the MOC as long as it used “Macedonian” in its title.
The MOC, which formed as a schism form the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1967, reached out to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in November 2017 for assistance in becoming a canonically-recognized autocephalous Church. The Bulgarian Church agreed to help, which greatly angered the Churches of Serbia and Greece, and also the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The MOC then appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well in May 2018 for the regularization of its canonical status, which responded that it would take up the issue and take appropriate measures “under the essential conditions of the observance of the historical-canonical powers and privileges of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
After declaring his opposition to the title “Macedonian,” Pat. Bartholomew later declared in October 2018 that the issue of the MOC is within the Serbian Church’s competence.
At its May 2019 session, the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Church resolved to resume negotiations on the resolution of the status of the MOC, though there does not seem to have been any progress since then.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited “Archbishop” Stefan of the MOC in October, after which Stefan declared that the U.S. is committed to protecting the MOC.
TEHRAN – Earlier today, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran raised the Red Flag of Hussein over the Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque, in Qom. The raising of the red flag gives a precise signal – it indicates that a major war is to come or is even now underway.
Reports so far indicate that this is the first time Iran has unfurled this flag over the Holy Dome, a flag steeped in religious symbolism relating to Islamic eschatology, the end times, and the specter of total war of epic and religious proportions.
This is not a flag of mourning, or of somber remembrance. It is a flag indicating that Iran is mobilizing its entire society towards a conflict never before seen. Bear in mind that this flag was not unfurled even during the Iran-Iraq war.
The Red Flag of Hussein raised above the mosque symbolizes the strength of the battle like that of Karbala and the color of the blood that may soon be poured as sacrifice and for justice over the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who has now become Shahid Soleimani (martyr Soleimani). Yet it reaches far beyond that of Shia martyrs, and speaks of events yet to unfold in short time.
The mosque is the considered one of the most significant in Iran, and in recent years has experienced much greater interest particularly from the youth.
Iran told the United Nations Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday that it reserves its right to self-defense under international law after the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, the top commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Iranian U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote in a letter that the killing of Soleimani “by any measure, is an obvious example of State terrorism and, as a criminal act, constitutes a gross violation of the fundamental principles of international law, including, in particular, those stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations.”
TOTAL WAR: Iran Unfurls Red Flag of War Over the Holy Dome of Jamkarān Mosque - Fort Russ
WWW.FORT-RUSS.COM TEHRAN – Earlier today, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran raised the Red Flag of Hussein over the Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque, in Qom. The raising of the red flag gives a...