Ecumenical Patriarch Speaks for Roma Rights


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Subject: Ecumenical Patriarch Speaks for Roma Rights

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Original sender: Panayote Elias Dimitras <panayote@greekhelsinki.gr>

Ecumenical Patriarch Speaks for Roma Rights


Message of His Holiness Bartholomew, 
Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, Ecumenical Patriarch 
(to a 15/1/2000 Conference on Roma) 
December 28, 1999

To the Honorable President and Vice-President of the organization
"Doctors of the World," Mr. Th. Rosenberg and Mr. I. Boukovinas,
beloved children in Christ's name of our Mediocrity. May the grace and
peace of God be with you!

We received and read with great joy and excitement your letter of
December 22 of this year, in which you communicated to us the news
about the organization of a colloquium on "Gypsies in Europe - from
Social Exclusion to Human Rights Violations" and you courteously
invited us to give a welcome address.

As a reply to your request, we would like to congratulate you and your
partners on this praiseworthy initiative. We would also like to stress
that we share your reflections, which are expressed in the titles of
the sections of the program.

Reviewing the adventurous journey in history of our fellow human
beings, the Gypsies or Roma, we are amazed at their endurance. We
admire their ingenuity as regards ways of survival, oftentimes in
extremely difficult conditions. For these reasons, we welcome any
initiative, which intends to improve the conditions of their life and,
eventually, to completely and actively integrate them into local
society, certainly provided that this integration takes into
consideration their freedom and desire.

May any kind of minority within the new European reality be given the
place and the way of living which would be worthy of the sacredness of
the human race. Confirming that the Orthodox Church would support
wholeheartedly any effort towards this goal, we offer, with all our
heart, our fatherly and Patriarchal blessing. We pray for the grace of
the One who took human shape and lived among us -the Word of God- to
be sent to you and to the Gypsies all over the world.

Certified copy
The Patriarchate, December 30, 1999
Chief Secretary of the Holy Council

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