Ecumenical prayer in Egypt for peace and unity

Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch Theodoros II, Pope Francis of Rome, Coptic Pope Tawadros II, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

On 28 April 2017, Church leaders, led by Pope Tawadros II and Pope Francis, were gathered to pray for the people of Egypt, for unity, for peace and justice in St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in Cairo, the chapel next to Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral that was bombed and where 29 people died and 47 were wounded on 11 December 2016.

Inside the small church, each of the eight Christian leaders seated before the congregation, with Pope Francis; Pope Tawadros of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria; Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople; Pope and Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa; Patriarch Ibrahim of the Coptic Catholic Church of Alexandria; Anglican Archbishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East; Patriarch Gregory III Laham, of Antioch and All the East, and Alexandria and Jerusalem; and Rev. Dr Andrea Zaki, president of the Protestant Community of Egypt, and director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services. It was perhaps the first time in history that three Popes and an Ecumenical Patriarch participated together in an ecumenical prayer focused on peace in the world.  Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch addressed Religions and Peace in Cairo

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was visiting Cairo (Egypt) on 27-29 April 2017, upon invitation of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Mosque, Cheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib. He was invited by el-Tayyib to address the International Conference on Peace, during which Pope Francis, the WCC General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit and the Grand Imam also spoke.

The simultaneous presence of Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros and the Coptic Patriarch Tawadros at the meeting in the great Sunni university, just a few days after the attacks in Coptic churches in Egypt that have bloodied Palm Sunday is a sign of unity of Christian unity, a significant call for peace in the world, during these difficult times with the winds of war blowing, while it also expresses the will to dialogue together with those Muslims who reject violence and justification of terrorism and massacres in the name of religion. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch visited Taizé

On Tuesday 25 April 2017, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited Taizé, an ecumenical monastic community made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from around thirty nations. It was an exceptional visit with the brothers, several Orthodox bishops and priests, representatives of the local Churches, and the young people present that week in Taizé. In fact, this was the first visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch to this ecumenical monastic community, although contacts with the Ecumenical Patriarchate go back to 1962. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch visits WCC

The Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, delivered a public address at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 24 April as part of his official visit to Switzerland on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch and the 50th anniversary of the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a public address at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 24 April 2017 as part of his official visit to Switzerland on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch and the 50th anniversary of the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy.

In his wide-ranging exhortation to the audience, the patriarch discussed the reasons for and accomplishments of the recent Holy and Great Council, convoked in Crete in June 2016, the role of science and technology in contemporary society, the theological imperative of tackling climate change, the plight and prospects of children today, the importance of countering human trafficking and modern slavery, and the need for all Christians to engage those issues in practical ways. Continue reading

Fifty years at the service of inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian unity

On 22-23 April 2017, the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy (Geneva, Switzerland) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation and the 20 years of activity of its Institute of Postgraduate Studies, as well as the 25th anniversary of the election of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who visited Geneva on that occasion. An academic ceremony on Saturday 22 April marked the threefold anniversary during which several communications presented the history and the activities of the Orthodox Center. Continue reading

CEC Presidency visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate

On 1 April, the president and vice-presidents of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) had an audience with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. CEC President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD, and CEC Vice-Presidents H. E. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and the Very Rev. Karin Burstrand were accompanied by CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen.

The visit provided opportunity to discuss current political and religious situations impacting both the life of the church in Istanbul and cooperation at the European level. Of particular note were the upcoming Turkish constitutional referendum and the situation of Christians as a religious minority in Turkey. They also discussed intra-Orthodox affairs, especially following from the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church that took place in June 2016. Continue reading

Ecumenical Inauguration of the Aedicule of the Holy Sepulchre

The Aedicule of the Holy Sepulchre was solemnly inaugurated on 22 March 2017 after a year of restoration by an ecumenical ceremony attended by representatives of the Orthodox,  Armenian and Roman Catholic Churches. It was presided by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in the presence of Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch Nourhan Manougian and other Christian religious leaders, as well as diplomats and political leaders like Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the representatives of the Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Under the current status quo, only the Orthodox, Armenian and Roman-Catholic Churches can celebrate services in the Holy Sepulchre basilica. The restoration work on the Tomb of Christ began less than a year ago in May 2016 to preserve the Tomb in the event of a powerful earthquake, like the one that struck the country in 1927 that weakened the Aedicule.  The last work of consolidation of the Anastasis dates back to those devised by the British in 1947, who had been unable to complete the restoration because there was no agreement between the three Christian communities: Orthodox, Armenians and Franciscans who share custody of the Basilica. For the first time since the status quo of 1857, an agreement was finally reached between the three Christian communities, which was essential to commence the restoration work last year.  This delicate project, which presented both technical and ecumenical challenges, was finally completed successfully. Continue reading

The Orthodox Center of Chambésy to celebrate its 50th anniversary

The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy is going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the election of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as the 50th anniversary of its foundation and the 20th anniversary of the opening of its Institute of Postgraduate Studies, on 22-24 April 2017.

The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was founded in June 1966. Its aims, as written in its Patriarchal and Synodic founding Tome, are:
– to inform the Christian world of the West, and especially of Western Europe, about the Orthodox worship and the Orthodox teaching, tradition and Theology;
– to study the theology and spiritual life of other Christian Churches and Confessions;
– to assist the communication between the local Orthodox Churches, and thus to promote orthodox unity;
– to promote the ecumenical spirit through the cultivation of relationships between Orthodoxy and other Christian Churches and Confessions aiming to promote the inter-christian unity. Continue reading

The leadership of the WCC Central Committee met in Geneva

The leadership of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee met in Geneva on 14-15 March 2017 to prepare for the Executive committee meeting to be held in June in Geneva. The WCC continues to focus on its pilgrimage of justice and peace, preparations for the 11th Assembly in 2021 as well its upcoming 70th anniversary. The WCC was formed in October 1948 in Amsterdam. During 2018, the WCC fellowship will not only celebrate significant milestones in the history of the WCC but also continue to address modern injustices and the ongoing struggle for a just peace. Continue reading