Moved by Bartholomew

By Loudoun Insider



Did anyone else see 60 Minutes on Sunday?  I was deeply moved by the segment on Bartholomew, the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church (the part about the ancient churches of Cappadocia was incredible!).  He has a lot of Pope John Paul likable personability about him, but eschews the pomp and circumstance in favor of a very down to earth and humble public persona.  And hey, he has a bit of the Santa thing going on as well!


The purging of Christians from Muslim countires continues at a rapid pace, and the plight of Christians in Turkey is no different.  Bartholomew spoke of feeling crucified, and that is certainly a reasonable comparison (though certainly not a literal one) of his plight and that of his church.  After centuries of often tumultuous but often peaceful coexistence, the new breed of Islam continues to purify itself while infiltrating western countries, then complaining endlessly of discrimination.  If anyone out there does not think this is a religious war that will not end soon, you are living in a rat hole.  I won’t hold my breath waiting for CAIR to reach out to help Bartholomew. 


Merry Chistmas to you and yours, Bartholomew.  Stay safe.


  • Dan (Not the liberal one) says:

    In all fairness Pope John Paul II didn’t ask for the pomp and circumstance. But yes, the Patriarch has been a blessing to Eastern and Western relations. His 60 Minutes segment was fascinating.

    Make sure to wish your Orthodox friends a merry Christmas on January 7th, not December 25!

  • The Trickster says:

    Let’s not forget that we nearly persecuted Christians right here in Loudoun County when we temporarily blocked the display of the Courthouse nativity scene and Christmas tree. Thank God we reversed that horrible decision.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Trickster, I can’t tell, is that sarcasm or genuine, 100 percent, crapola?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Trickster, please take the time to read that article or watch the segment, and maybe you won’t be in such a sarcastic mood on this matter.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    If I were the Patriach, I would be quietly moving all those artifacts and documents out of the country with all due haste – think Buddist statues under the Taliban.

  • Loudoun Insider,

    Thanks for bringing attention to this. Here in the West we often forget about the Orthodox Church that still exists in the East.
    This is a religious war, and it is a shame that the current administration does not see the real dynamics of the religious undertones. America has always been a beacon for religious freedom, we cannot let that stop now.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I thought the same thing about those wonderful carved from stone churches in Cappadocia, Eric. Turkey seems to be further radicalizing and the thought of all of that history being destroyed in the name of Allah like those Buddhist statues in Afghanistan made me ill.
    John Batchelor is one of my all-time favorite radio hosts, and a Coptic Christian. He often speaks about the injustices committed against mid-eastern Christians. So much for the “religion of peace”.

  • TheTrickster says:

    No sarcasm. I should have said “heavy hand of intolerance”.

    “Virginians will not tolerate the heavy hand of intolerance under the guise of political correctness crushing Christmas spirit in our hometowns.”

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Trickster, that woman is pretty far on the fringe.

  • Rob Iola says:

    One of 60 Minutes’ finest efforts – told the lovely Mrs. Iola that I want to visit all the places shown before I die. Particularly moving when they toured the seminary that Turkish officials shut down.

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    I certainly hope that you did not mean that Julie Smith is extreme because she isn’t. She is founder of the National Organization of Conservative women and a member of LCRC. She was also a delegate with us in Richmond, supporting our favorite candidate for AG. That’s where I first met her and I am proud to call her a friend.

    If you were referring to the blogger, Barbara Curtis, and not the subject of the blog, I have nothing to add. I do not know Barbara Curtis nor am I familiar with her blog.

  • TheTrickster says:


    I’d like to hear clarification too and will ditto LL’s request.

    I do think there is one error in your post. The CBS News article says the following

    Then he took us to what the patriarch really wanted us to see: a little-known letter written by the Prophet Mohammed, almost 1,400 years ago, signed and sealed with his hand print, offering protection and religious freedom to the Christians of the monastery.

    “These are precedents from Mohammed himself for toleration and peace among people of differing faiths,” Father Justin explained.

    The patriarch then brought us back to the 21st century and Turkey, to his own back yard. He took us for a ride on an island off of Istanbul in a carriage, with a police escort. The patriarch wanted to show us that Mohammed’s message of tolerance has not been received by the Turkish authorities.

    Bartholomew lays blame on Turkish authorities. Your post lays blame on “a new breed of Islam”. Is this a political problem or a religious problem?

    As an aside, read JS’s letter again and her claim of “intolerance”. In retrospect, would it be accurate to apply the message of your post to political events here at home?

    …the new breed of Christianity continues to purify itself while infiltrating western countries, then complaining endlessly of discrimination.

  • It is a war, but not one between religions. It’s one between faith and reason. If you fight Islam with Christianity, everyone will lose. Fight Islam with knowledge and reason, you have a chance for both Christianity and Islam to coexist, which is the only reasonable outcome.
    Religion is the perfect medium for zealots.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Of course I was talking about Barbara Curtis, not Julie Smith.
    Trickster, I absolutely believe it is a religious problem, not a political one. The Turks are more secular but are going down the path of being more religious in their governance, hence the increased worry for Bartholomew and his followers.
    I’d like to believe you edmund, but I think the militant form of Islam has firmly taken hold, and that knowledge and reason means nothing to those who practice that form of Islam. I am not calling for a new Crusade, simply for people to take their heads out of their rears.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Big troubles for Christians even in Iraq where we suppsedly have everything secured:

  • TheTrickster says:


    Your conclusion that this is religious and not political exemplifies the poor research you put into this post. Please look at the history of the persecution of Orthodox Christians and explain why this is new and why this is not political.

    One of the worst acts was the Armenian genocide of 1922-1923. If memory serves me correctly, the United States has not pushed Turkey to apologize for the genocide for fear of losing valuable military bases in Turkey.

    Although I don’t want to delve into your motivations, the CAIR reference is a smoking gun that this post echoes Frank Wolf’s attack on CAIR. If you look at the mission of CAIR, this issue is out of scope for the organization. It isn’t out of scope for Frank Wolf who has had ample opportunity to stand up for Orthodox Christians. For example, see the reference to Soviet emigration.

    During the 1980’s, the Immigration and Naturalization Service gave refugee status to any Soviet citizen who applied on religious grounds – except for members of the Orthodox Church. The very church which had suffered the most under Soviet rule, whose churches continued to be closed and her clergy arrested until 1988, was not considered to be a “persecuted” church by the American government.

    The State Department turned a blind eye to the Soviet Orthodox Church under former President Ronald Reagan. I challenge you to demonstrate that Frank Wolf fought for the Orthodox Church in the period 1980-1988.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Poor research? Do you not admit that Christians are being persecuted for religious reasons? of course I’m aware of the Armenian genocide – it was a horrific chapter in human history. Was that “political” as well, or just plain old genocide/ethnic cleansing? I guess anyone could try to say that is “political” as well, but I don’t buy it.
    That was a gratuitous swipe at CAIR since I find their continued whining annoying. Muslims have it much better here than Christians have it in Muslim countries. That’s an absolute undeniable fact.
    Frank Wolf has a lot on his plate, but I do know he has spoken up about the persecution of Christians abroad. Who are you, Judy Feder?

  • Edmundburkenator says:

    If you fight fire with fire, everyone burns.
    Fight fire with the rule of law or we fan the flames of Islamic asshats (fanatics) and ensure that, in the end, we are the subject of one god or another.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I understand your point edmund and generally agree. This shouldn’t be a holy war on either side. I just want to wake up anyone who still doesn’t think this is a religious war on the part of the Islamists (I doubt anyone reading his blog doubts that but you never know).

  • TheTrickster says:


    I’m not so sure that the Turkish regime is Islamist. If they were, the American military bases would be banished, wouldn’t they?

    In the case of persecuted Palestinian Christians, you’re right. It is a religious war.

    On another topic. What do you think about JS’s “heavy hand of intolerance” comment? JS seems to be pretty close to BC. Don’t understand why you dislike BC but appear to like JS.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Where did I say the Turkish regime is Islamist? I didn’t, but I said Turkey appears to be heading that way from a secular recent past. You need to work on your reading comprehension. Julie Smith is much more coherent than Barbara Curtis.

  • QuinGrad says:

    Bartholomew is the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, one of the five Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church. The Patriarchates are based on the five great original Christian Churches of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria. The autocephalous churches (those of national origin or provenance such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church in America) are under the jurisidiction of the various patriarchates. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is regarded as first among equals and the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church, but unlike in Catholicism, he has no authority to make decisions on theological interpetation for members of the faith, or to make policy for the autocephalous churches under the jurisdiction of other patriarchs.

  • “Virginians will not tolerate the heavy hand of intolerance under the guise of political correctness crushing Christmas spirit in our hometowns.”

    For clarification: this quote is from Julie Smith, National Organization for Conservative Women – and not from me. but I agree with her 100%

    So I guess we are both extremists.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Given the amount of Christmas spirit I have observed everywhere in Loudoun County this season, I think Barbara’s, Ken’s, and apparently Julie’s hulabuloo is indeed hyperbolic (at best). I know it helps their politics to play the poor downtrodden and persecuted Judeo/Christians but (speaking as one) the reality is that Christianity is alive and well in this country and Loudoun County. In case anyone is confused, we are NOT being persecuted in any manner. Thanks for doing your part in politicizing the season, though.

  • TheTrickster says:

    Thanks Barbara,

    I correctly attributed the quote to Julie Smith and don’t understand LI’s beef with you. Either he agrees with Julie’s ideas, or he doesn’t. That’s what makes his posting more like gossip blogging than citizen journalism. LI seems to dislike you personally, so no matter what you say, he’s going to disrespect you. LI seems to like Julie, so no matter what she says, he’s going to support her. Ideas don’t matter. Personalities do.
    You see the same thing here in this post. LI likes Ronald Reagan, so he’s not going to criticize Reagan’s inaction when the Russian Orthodox followers sought help from the U.S. On the other hand, LI doesn’t like CAIR and will criticize the organization for not acting on an issue that is well outside of their mission.
    You will also notice that LI will criticize the “new breed of Islam” but will refrain from criticizing the “new breed of Christianity”. As edmundburkenator observes, the issue is really one of fundamentalism, however he should have juxtaposed “religion versus reason” rather than “faith versus reason”.

  • I should have juxtaposed fundamentalism and reason is suppose. There are components to faith that are part of reason. Religions now come in all stripes — some clothed in reason (some environmentalist groups come to mind), but are quasi religions.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Trickster, perhaps LI’s beef has something to do with this kind of extremism:

    Personally, I don’t know or care to know Julie but if she agrees with this kind of tripe, she is just as radical in my eyes. What’s next “death panels”? Oh yeah that’s already been done by Beck’s 9-12 crowd. Nice people….

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Trickster, you are so mistaken. I disagree with Barb on several key issues, but have a newfound respoect and liking for her these days. Julie Smith is a nice woman, but I agree she is going hyperbolic on this issue. A lot of people stood idly by when Russian Orthodox faithful were being persecuted, but I wouldn’t say that Reagan, widely credited for bringing down the Berlin Wall and the USSR, was one of them. And the Soviets had that nagging problem of thousands of nukes to keep people out of their business.
    There are certainly Christian fundamentalists everywhere, including in this country, but they’re not making headlines trying to blow up planes mid-air.
    Eric, that is still nowhere near the type of Islamic extremism so often on display in this world, and the “death panel” controversy so far has not caused a single death that I know of.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    This is your standard now, LI? As long as our extremism is not as extreme as say that put forward by Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia it is OK with you? Sure you can’t set that bar a little lower? Equating our President with Nazism? Really, LI you should demand more out of Loudoun County citizenry.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Where did I say I equated the two? I’d just like to see more outrage at those actually killing people. I already stated that I think Barbara Curtis is a bit off her rocker, but this is America and people have their right to state their opinions.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Absolutely! Barbara has the right to say and publish anything she wants. I, in turn, have the right (even responsiblity, imo) to call her on it when I think her public opinion and rhetoric is out of line. I would, however, fight tooth and nail to defend Barbara’s right to publish anything she wants if that right were being threatened in any way. BTW, who is not outraged at those who are actually killng (or advocating for killing) people? It seems to me that this is a given in any civilized society – certainly here in America it should be. I mean does this really need to be said: “I am outraged that people want to kill other people for ANY reason”?

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