WCC youth commission ECHOS met in Romania

19 August 2017, Sibiu, Romania: Gathering in Sibiu, Romania, the World Council of Churches youth commission ECHOS met on 17-20 August for days of discernment on the position and role of youth in the ecumenical movement today, and to set the future path of the commission, as it journeys on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. On 19 August, the group was received by the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Gathering in Sibiu (Romania), the World Council of Churches (WCC) youth commission ECHOS met on 17-20 August for days of discernment on the position and role of youth in the ecumenical movement today, and to set the future path of the commission, as it journeys on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. Moderator Martina Viktorie Kopecká, from the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, who is also a member of the WCC Executive Committee and of the WCC Ecumenical Officers Network, welcomed the group saying, “as ECHOS commissioners, we are all called by God, who sent us on the most important mission, to proclaim the good news… Part of this journey of love,is to visit wounds and repent, to move forward, but also to move in the middle of our hearts, as we are on the pilgrimage together.”

A key point of focus for the commissioners was on how to be strategic in encouraging youth representation and securing active engagement of youth in the ecumenical movement in the future. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch’s Visit to Hungary

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has concluded a four-day visit to Hungary on 18-21 August 2017 at the invitation of the country’s authorities. During the visit, His All-Holiness was presented with a building complex located in the center of Budapest, which the Hungarian Government has decided to donate for the needs of the Orthodox Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Hungary. “Hungary will never forget what it owes to Orthodox Christianity,” said Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén while handed over the keys of a building in central Budapest. The building represents Hungary’s “modest return” of gratitude owed to Bartholomew I and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. It also gives an opportunity for the church to be able to carry out its services in Hungary, he added. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed thanks for the “historic building complex of immense value” and said the church “had a burning need for it” in order “to carry out its diverse pastoral and cultural tasks”. In the census of 2011, a total of 1,701 Hungarians said they followed the Greek Orthodox faith. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch to address the International Ecumenical Conference in Bose

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew shall address the 25th International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality on “The Gift of Hospitality” at the Monastery of Bose (Italy) on 6 September 2017. The Patriarch will speak on the theme: “To Receive Humanity on a Habitable Earth.

The 25th International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality, organized in collaboration with the Orthodox Churches (Bose, 6–9 September 2017) wishes to examine more closely an essential dimension of Christian life: xenitia, the consciousness of being strangers and temporary residents on earth (cf. Heb 11,13), which leads to welcoming the other as a gift of God, to philoxenia (cf. Heb 13,2).

Christians are called upon to be strangers capable of hospitality. The Church of God, local churches, and Christians live in anticipation of the Kingdom while being migrants towards the heavenly Jerusalem. The conference will attempt to illustrate some aspects and moments of this constituent and fertile tension of being a church in journey by drawing especially on the rich tradition of the Christian East and on the teaching of the fathers, the example of monasticism, but also by listening to the experience of Orthodox Churches today.

Among the other personalities speaking at the conference will be His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, Hegumen Elisseos of the Monastery of Simonopetra on Mount Athos and Brother Alois the Prior of Taizé.

CEC Presidency visit to Estonia

On 18 August 2017 a joint delegation from the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) meet with the Estonian president, Mr. Jüri Ratas, as they begin their six month Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The meeting took place in Tallinn and on the agenda were common concerns as well as what the most urgent priorities are under the Estonian presidency.

The delegation also visited the autonomous Orthodox Church of Estonia under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and her Primate, Metropolitan Stephanos of Tallin and all Estonia.

WCC 70th Anniversary Coordination Committee met

On 21 August 2017, the World Council of Churches 70th Anniversary Coordination Committee met in Geneva at the Ecumenical Centre to discuss the program of festivities schedule in 2018.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said: “We are approaching the 70th anniversary of the WCC, and we shall discuss our plans for this important dimension to what we do in 2018. Through the entire history of the WCC, there has been a commitment to work for both the unity of the Church and the common service and witness for justice and peace in the world.”

The members of the WCC 70th Anniversary Coordination Committee present at the meeting were WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC President for Asia Rev. Dr Sang Chang, WCC President for Europe Archbishop Emeritus Dr Anders Wejryd, Vice Moderator of the WCC Central Committee H.E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima, Member of the WCC ex comm and central committee; moderator of the ECHOS Youth Commission Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopeckà, former WCC colleague Dr Guillermo Kerber, former WCC colleague Rev. Dwain Epps and WCC Staff members: Mr Stanley Noffsinger, Ms Marianne Ejdersten and Mr Georges Lemopoulos.

The historical roots of the World Council of Churches are found in student and lay movements of the 19th century, the 1910 Edinburgh world missionary conference, and a 1920 encyclical from the Ecumenical Patriarchate suggesting a “fellowship of churches” similar to the League of Nations. Leaders representing more than 100 churches voted in 1937-38 to found a World Council of Churches, but its inauguration was delayed following the outbreak of the second world war.