International Ecumenical Conference of Orthodox Spirituality at the Monastery of Bose

The 25th International Ecumenical Conference of Orthodox Spirituality was held at the Monastery of Bose (Italy) on 6-9 September 2017 on the theme of the Gift of Hospitality. It was opened several words of gratitude for this important anniversary, first expressed by Pope Francis, who in his greeting message presented the conventions organized by the Bose monastery in collaboration with the Orthodox Churches as a tool to sprout among the Christians of various confessions a “hospitality of the heart”. Feelings of joy, satisfaction, and even “emotion” were expressed by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Beatitude the Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Theodoros II, who began the congress with their communications. Messages were also sent by the Patriarchs John X of Antioch, Kirill of Moscow and Daniel of Romania, Archbishop Hieronymos II of Athens and all of Greece, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and all Albania, Metropolitan Onufri of Kiev and all of Ukraine, Cardinal Kurth Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the unity of Christians, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The intervention of Brother Enzo Bianchi, founder of the community, presented “the space opened by the cry of the poor and the stranger” as “the place where God reveals himself”.

In his communication, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew outlined man as the host of the Creator on earth; a guest who, pretending to be a landlord, ended up becoming stranger to his own home; a guest that the “hospitable God” never abandoned. It is for this extraordinary fidelity that the believer “hosts the alien as God hosts him in the world”. Patriarch Theodoros II alternated the depth of the theological reflection on the sheer pastor’s gaze with the “boundless continent of Africa where war-related conflicts, civil wars and natural scale disasters continually produce waves of refugees reduced to misery.”

Since 1993 for twenty five years now, the Monastery of Bose in Italy, has been a meeting place for Christians from East and West wishing to discuss aspects of Christian spirituality. They are Christians belonging to the Orthodox, Reformed, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and these encounters have been and will continue to be essentially an occasion for listening to each other. Conference Proceedings are published annually, often translated in many languages, providing continuity for encounters and mutual knowledge, and at the same time broadening the horizons of all those who feel the imperative importance of a renewed approach to the sources of Christian spirituality.