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Relations strengthened with Roman-inspired nations

17 September 2020 Leave a comment

In the past week, the Empire of Austenasia has signed formal treaties of friendship and recognition with two other nations which claim continuity with the Roman Empire, namely Ovrestlia and Rhomania, and come to agreements regarding their imperial status.

Ovrestlia, which has a population of 42 and declared independence from Greece in 2019, signed a treaty with Austenasia on Thursday 10th.

Rhomania, which before becoming independent in May this year was the Austenasian Crown Dependency of Mouzilo, signed a treaty with Austenasia yesterday, on Wednesday 16th.

Rhomania especially has a culture based on that of the Eastern Roman Empire, with most of its land located within the former borders of such and its official name being the Basileia of the Romans.

Emmanuel I & II of Rhomania – also known as Manolis Afentoulis – holds the title of Basileus; although this is translatable as “Emperor”, the treaty signed has agreed that he will be recognised as holding the rank of Caesar, with Austenasia pledging to support his efforts to attain full Augustan rank.

The monarch of Ovrestlia – Thomas Marios I – likewise officially claims imperial rank, but under the terms of the treaty signed with Austenasia has agreed to use the title of Hegemon in dealings with the Empire.

In return for diplomatic recognition, Ovrestlia has also pledged to cede an area of land to Austenasia, the details of which are currently being arranged.

Although Rhomania overtly claims succession from the Roman Empire, Ovrestlia likewise claims a cultural continuity from the same. In both treaties, Austenasia and the other signatory have recognised each other as holding “equal political succession from the Roman Empire and function[ing] as polities of the indivisible and perpetual Roman Empire”, the arrangement which Austenasia also holds with the Holy Roman Empire, Imvrassia, and the Carshalton Nations.

These two treaties have therefore expanded and consolidated the sphere of nations mutually recognising each other as claiming and holding the inheritance of Rome.

Emperor leads heads of state in condemning Hagia Sophia conversion

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Jonathan I has led a group of seven heads of state in condemning the recent decision by Turkish President Erdoğan to convert the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The statement, published yesterday, was also signed by Quentin I of the Holy Roman Empire and Wyvern, Aikaterini I of Imvrassia, Emmanuel I & II of Rhomania (formerly Mouzilo), Edward I of Ashukovo, Denis I of Vlasynia, and former Austenasian PM Lord Admiral Kennedy in his capacity as provisional head of state of New Virginia.

Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral by the Emperor Justinian and completed in 537. It stood as the greatest cathedral in the world and the centre of the Orthodox Church for almost a thousand years, until the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453.

During the fall of the city, thousands of civilians and refugees took shelter in Hagia Sophia while a Liturgy was served. When the city fell, the Turks broke down the doors to the church and slaughtered, raped and enslaved those inside.

The Ottomans destroyed or plastered over the Christian elements of the church, and installed minarets and other features to convert the cathedral into a mosque.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the caliphate, Kemal Ataturk – the founder of modern Turkey – ordered Hagia Sophia to become a museum in a drive towards modernity and secularism. Archaeological and restorative work uncovered many of the Christian mosaics, and the building was open for all to appreciate its unique history.

Hagia Sophia was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

The decision of President Erdoğan to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque has been seen as a regressive move aimed at bolstering his support among Turkey’s Islamists, as well as intentionally insulting Turkey’s Orthodox neighbours in Europe.

Reports state that the building’s Christian mosaics will now be covered with screens and lighting effects, and that visitors will have to remove their shoes upon entry.

The action has immense significance for Orthodox Christians, for whom Hagia Sophia remains a building of intense spiritual importance. Many legends and prophecies concern the cathedral.

For example, one legend says that when the city fell to the Turks, the clergy paused the service they were conducting and vanished through a door on the south side of the church, where they await to complete the Liturgy. To this day the door has not been opened, and some say chanting can be heard from the other side.

Of more concern are prophecies by Orthodox saints of the past century which warn that the building becoming a mosque again will herald a war.

Regardless of any eschatological significance of this action, it remains one calculated to intentionally offend and belittle Turkey’s already victimised Christian minorities.

The statement published yesterday by Emperor Jonathan I and others is as follows:

It was with the utmost disgust and devastation that we learnt of the decision of the Turkish government to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. At a time when so many nations around the world are looking back at their history, critical of the colonialism and oppression of the past, the Republic of Turkey – a state built on the genocide and ethnic cleansing of its Greek, Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish minorities – has chosen to continue to insult and attack the culture and history of the people whose land it took. This action, which is illegal under international law, has been denounced by UNESCO, by the EU, by the USA, and of course by Greece and by the Orthodox Church. Under the government of Erdogan, Turkey is becoming an Islamist rogue state and international pariah, and we condemn this action unreservedly. It is an intentional insult not only towards the Christian religion, but also towards all who descend from or value the Orthodox civilisation of the medieval Roman Empire. The whole civilised world has united in condemnation of this atrociously insulting act, but we may take consolation in the knowledge that despite Erdogan’s claims, Hagia Sophia does not belong to Turkey. Rather, it belongs to God, and may His will be done.

15 July 2020 (7528)

Emperor Jonathan I of the EMPIRE OF AUSTENASIA
Emperor Quentin I of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE and KINGDOM OF WYVERN
Empress Aikaterini I of the EMPIRE OF IMVRASSIA
Basileus Emmanuel I & II of the BASILEIA OF THE ROMANS
Prince Edward I of the REPUBLIC OF ASHUKOVO
Sir Joseph Kennedy of the COMMONWEALTH OF NEW VIRGINIA
Despot Denis I of the DESPOTATE OF VLASYNIA

UPDATE 16 JULY 21:20 – Princess Hannah of Wildflower Meadows and King Ciprian of Juclandia have also expressed their explicit support for the statement.

Coronavirus measures implemented as pandemic continues

15 April 2020 1 comment

On 16 March, three cases of suspected coronavirus infection were reported by the Austenasian Times. All three individuals have by now either tested negative for the coronavirus or stopped displaying symptoms.

Despite this good news, the ongoing pandemic and the reactions of governments around the world continue to affect life for all Austenasians, both residential and non-residential.

Palasia and Bregusland restricted travel last month, a fact reported by Lonely Planet in a recent article about the reactions of various “micronations” to the pandemic.

However, these are not the only towns of Austenasia to have implemented a response to the disease.

The Austenasian capital Wrythe, the towns of Theodosiopolis and Dragovina, and the Harlemum March are all under lockdown.

Theodosiopolis and Harlemum, which are both represented by Dionisiy I, have furthermore stocked up on protective masks and anti-viral medicine.

Kingeston, which consists of uninhabited parkland bordered by Canada, has declared a state of emergency, and is encouraging visitors to observe social distancing and wash their hands. Peach Ponds meanwhile, which likewise consists of parkland (albeit bordered by the USA) has taken a stricter approach, enforcing a stay-at-home and not accepting visitors.

In Mouzilo, the sole resident – Manolis Afentoulis, Duke of Thessalia – has implemented strict social distancing and remained within the borders of the crown dependency for over three weeks, working on various cultural projects.

With lockdowns and social distancing being enforced in the United Kingdom, United States, and other countries around the world, many activities which Austenasians would usually join outside the borders of Austenasia itself have also been cancelled.

Last weekend saw Western Easter unable to be celebrated by the Imperial Family by attending church with other Austenasians, as is customary. Likewise, Emperor Jonathan I and the other Orthodox Christians of Austenasia will be unable to observe Orthodox Easter this upcoming Sunday 19th with church attendance. The Emperor will instead be listening to a livestreamed service from the safety of the Imperial Residence.

Likewise, the Imperial Geographical Society conducts an expedition on the first Monday of May, but will not be doing so this year.

As long as the pandemic continues, similar measures and precautions will unfortunately have to be taken in order to ensure public health.

Mouzilo joins the Empire as Ionathanopolis dissolves

The new Crown Dependency of Mouzilo

Thursday 14th saw former Ashukov district Mouzilo become an Austenasian Crown Dependency, while the Town of Ionathanopolis was ceded back to the USA.

Mouzilo, an enclave of central Greece, had been a constituent district of the now-defunct Ashukov Federation.

With Ashukovo having collapsed, Mouzilo’s leader and sole resident, Manolis Afentoulis, arranged for his land to be annexed by the Empire of Austenasia.

However, Thursday also saw a loss to the Empire as the Town of Ionathanopolis was dissolved. The Representative of the Town had last contacted the government in August 2017, and numerous attempts to get in contact with him since had yielded no reply. The decision was therefore made to dissolve the Town.

Ionathanopolis had a population of five, which with the simultaneous annexation of Mouzilo resulted in a net loss of four people from the Austenasian population. However, this has been offset to a loss of two, with two non-residential subjectships having been granted by the Monarch on the same day under legislation passed last year.

The legislation which annexed Mouzilo and dissolved Ionathanopolis was also used to formally recognise the collapse of Ashukovo.

In other news, Jonathan I announced the formal start of spring 2019 in the Austenasian calendar on 13 February.