Meeting of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue

The International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Malta on 14–21 October 2017 and issued the following Communiqué:

In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Sliema, Republic of Malta from 14 to 21 October 2017. The Commission is deeply grateful for the comprehensive and warm hospitality offered by the Anglican Communion. As always the work of the Commission was undergirded by daily prayer and worship. The Commission attended the Sunday Parish Eucharist at the Anglican Pro-Cathedral of St Paul and a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Parish Church of St George in Valletta. Continue reading

Dies Academicus of the Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology of Chambésy

The Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology of Chambésy began its 22nd academic year by conferring Master degrees to height  graduates (coming from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Churches of Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Poland) and welcoming seven new students into its unique tripartite program of theological studies on 14 October 2017 during the ceremony of Dies Academicus.

For the academic year 2017-2018, 14 students are registered in this unique program of theological studies, coming from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Churches of Russia, Serbia, Georgia and Greece. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew — Keynote Speaker at the Arctic Circle Assembly

At the invitation of Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of Iceland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Arctic Circle Assembly, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered the keynote address in Reykjavik (Iceland) on 13 October 2017 to the Arctic Circle Assembly before a gathering of 2,000 participants from governments, corporations, universities and ecological institutions.

The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke on the importance and influence of religion on raising awareness on the ecological crisis of our time, underlining that spiritual leaders, scientists and politicians cannot avoid engaging in dialogue with one another on climate change. “In order to change what we see,” His All-Holiness declared, “we have to change how we see it. We have to change how we perceive and treat the world, how we use our knowledge and skills to sustain and enhance it.” The Ecumenical Patriarch was also received for a private conversation at the Harpa conference and concert hall with the Bjarni Benediktsson, prime minister of Iceland.

The Ecumenical Patriarch is known for his ecumenical relationship-building, his advocacy for environmental concerns and his work related to peacemaking and reconciliation. He came to Iceland with a five-member delegation on the occasion of the WCC Conference on Just Peace with Earth happening in link with the Arctic Circle Assembly.

Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group met in Romania

The Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group gathered for its fourteenth annual meeting from 4 to 8 October 2017 at Caraiman Monastery (Romania), at the invitation of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The 2017 meeting was chaired by the Catholic Co-president of the Working Group, Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg. The group sincerely thanked its former Co-President Archbishop Job of Telmessos who had to withdraw from the group due to the fact that he became Co-President of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. Continue reading

Unicef, World Council of Churches and the Churches’ Commitments to Children

On 29 of September 2017, Mrs. Antonia Antonopoulos, UNICEF Head of Civil Society Partnerships, who is a Canadian Greek Orthodox from the Holy Metropolis of Toronto, and Mrs. Frédérique Seidel, responsible for the World Council of Churches (WCC) program on Churches’ Commitments to Children visited the Permanent Representation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the WCC to present the collaboration between the UNICEF and the WCC on the Churches’s Commitments to Children.

Both were sensitive to the appeal made by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his Christmas encyclical last December “to respect the identity and sacredness of childhood” and who pointed out at the plague of child mortality, hunger and child labor, child abuse and psychological violence, as well as the dangers of altering children’s souls through their uncontrolled exposure to the influence of contemporary electronic means of communication. On that occasion, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had declare 2017 as the Year of Protection of the Sacredness of Childhood, inviting everyone to recognize and respect the rights and integrity of children. Continue reading

Consultation on the Role of Women in Churches

A consultation with the theme “Ecumenical Perspective on the Role of Women in the Churches” brought together 28 women and men to the Monastero di Bose in northern Italy from 3-7 October.

Participants came from major Christian traditions including Anglican, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental), Pentecostal, Reformed and Roman Catholic; there were also representatives of regional ecumenical organisations including the All Africa Conference of Churches, Caribbean Conference of Churches, Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias, Middle East Council of Churches, National Council of Churches in India, and Conference of European Churches. Continue reading

Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration of the WCC met on Rhodes

From responding to divisions within churches and communities, to addressing fair representation within the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration (PCCC) of the WCC met from 2-6 October in Rhodes, Greece, hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, through the hospitality of H. E. Metropolitan Kyrillos of Rhodes.

Co-moderated by H.E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima and Bishop Simo Peura (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland), the PCCC received information about the ongoing work of the WCC Faith and Order Commission and handled several items such as consensus, preparations for the WCC 11th Assembly, membership matters, “fair and adequate” representation, constitutional changes, and prayer and “common prayer” in the ecumenical movement. Continue reading

Orthodox attended Ecumenical Officers Meeting

A network meeting of Ecumenical Officers was organized by the World Council of Churches on 16-19 September 2017. Some forty professionals working on ecumenical relations, sometimes referred as “the motor engineers of the Ecumenical Movement”, coming from different member Churches in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East as well as North and South America, gathered in Geneva, Switzerland for their four-day meeting which took place at the WCC’s Ecumenical Institute at Bossey and at the Ecumenical Centre.

The meeting afforded them an opportunity to learn more about the various programmes of the World Council of Churches as well as from each other. Various staff members of the WCC and partner organizations based in Geneva presented them their work. Special sessions were dedicated to the presentation of the document on “Ecumenical Diakonia”, the program of the WCC 70th anniversary, the upcoming World Mission Conference (Tanzania, 2018) and the preparation of the next WCC Assembly of 2021.

Among the Orthodox, representatives from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Antioch and from the Churches of Russia, Romania and Cyprus, as well as from the “Orthodox Church in America” attended the meeting.

Catholic-Orthodox Bilateral Dialogue on the Way to its Next Plenary

The Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church met in Leros (Greece) on 5-8 September 2017, under the presidency of the two co-chairmen, Cardinal Kurth Koch (President of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the unity of Christians) and Archbishop Job of Telmessos (Ecumenical Patriarchate), benefiting from the hospitality of Metropolitan Paisios of Leros, Kalymnos and Astypalaia (Ecumenical Patriarchate), to discuss the next stage of the dialogue following the agreed statement “Synodality and Primacy during the First Millennium: Towards a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church,” finalized on 21 September 2016 at the plenary meeting of the Commission in Chieti (Italy).

After much discussion, it was decided that the topic for the next stage of the dialogue should be: “Towards Unity in Faith: Theological and Canonical Issues”. A paper on this topic will be prepared for the next plenary meeting of the Commission which is expected in 2019. It was also decided that work should begin already on an additional document, which will follow on from the Chieti document and will be entitled: “Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today”. It will include consideration of “uniatism” among other issues.