HEYBELIADA (AA) - August 7, 2012 - Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, metropolitan of Bursa and chief priest of the Halki Seminary, has said, "We do not know neither understand what Islamophobia is because we are not afraid of our friends nor neighbours."
Speaking to AA at the Halki Seminary, Lambriniadis explained their point of view towards Islamophobia and the message they had sent to Damascus patriarch who is in the middle of the conflict.
Talking about the Islamophobia which frequently came up in media after the 9/11 attacks, Lambriniadis said, "We live in Istanbul, as a Patriarchate all our friends and neighbours have been Muslims. We do not know what Islamophobia is neither understand it. We are not scared of our friends nor neighbours. We love each other. I believe this perception in other countries has political reasons. I am not scared of the person that I live with in the same neighbourhood in the same community because I know them. We know Islam and we are not scared of it."
Also touching on the situation in Myanmar and rising violence against Muslims, he stressed, "We believe no human being should suffer, as we are clerics, we are against the unfairness. We are on the side of victims, we pray for them in every mass rites."
Lambriniadis also stated the Orthodox church in Syria had been having hard time because of the attacks and noted, "Christians in Syria are going through hard times, they are caught in the cross fire."
Our Patriarchate sent a message to the Damascus patriarch, saying that they pray for the health and life of all community and believers in Syria.
Moreover, informing AA about Europe's biggest wooden building, the Buyukada Greek Orthodox Orphanage, Lambriniadis said, "Orphanage was shut down and its deed register was taken away from the Patriarchate. We have been to the European Court of Human Rights and finally took the deed register back a couple of years ago. History of the building is great however currently the building is in a bad condition, that is why the restoration will take some time and we need serious financial support for improvements."
Lambriniadis also underlined that the restoration of the orphanage will contribute to both Buyukada and Istanbul and stressed, "Buyukada Greek Orthodox Orphanage is a gem and this gem belongs to Istanbul, to whole of Turkey."
Reporting by Busra Nur Ozcan / Metin Aktas