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National Council of the Churches (NCC) Laments Hagia Sophia Decision

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA decries the decision of the Turkish Government to convert the Hagia Sophia from its long-term status as a museum to a mosque. It was a political decision made just this past Friday, July 10, by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a decision that was fueled by nationalist zeal that reflects his disregard for religious tolerance, and his cynicism in manipulating the Muslim majority in his country to support him. Read More

Grant Promotes Orthodox / Catholic Dialogue

The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have each received $15,000.00 grants from the Prokopis Charitable Foundation to foster increased dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in the U.S.

Twice each year, twelve Orthodox theologians and twelve Roman Catholic theologians gather for the official North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation that was initiated in 1965 by SCOBA and the USCCB. Impressed and encouraged by the papers and statements issued over the years by this oldest ongoing official dialogue between the two Churches, Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Prokopis decided to underwrite the costs of the Consultation for 2005.

"I am interested in the success of these efforts thus far," Mr. Prokopis stated, "and wish to offer this gift to the reunification efforts of our Churches. These efforts are of the highest order of importance to me personally, as well as for all Christians worldwide."

The religious philanthropy of the Prokopis Charitable Foundation is guided by the following principles: preserving the Word of the Lord; the health, morale and welfare of parish priests; education; and embracing mixed marriages.

Thirty-five years ago, Mr. Prokopis married a Catholic woman. While he was working 24 hours a day, she raised their children as Orthodox Christians. Now they have three grandchildren, two Orthodox and one Catholic. "Seeing things through their eyes, drives me harder on unity these days," he stated.

In expressing thanks on behalf of Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman, and the SCOBA hierarchs, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, General Secretary of SCOBA, said "You can't imagine how encouraging it is to know that you wish to support these efforts. Seeking to implement our Lord's prayer 'that all may be one,' our hierarchs and theologians, both lay and ordained, embarked on this long difficult journey 40 years ago. Many thanks for your generous support of the serious academic and theological work being accomplished by the members of the Consultation."

Statements produced by the North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation can be found on the SCOBA website at, under the heading News and Events, then Resources and Texts.

For further information contact:

SCOBA General Secretariat
Tel: 212-570-3593.