Cardinal Kurt Koch’s Public Lecture at the Orthodox Center of Chambésy

Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, gave a public lecture at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy (Geneva, Switzerland) on 16 December 2019. The title of his lecture was: “Towards the unity of the Church in East and West: Paths to overcome the divisions between the Roman Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Orthodox Church”. The lecture gathered a large audience of professors and students from the Universities of Fribourg and Geneva, the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey and of the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Orthodox Theology, as well as people interested in ecumenism. The speaker, well known to the Swiss audience since he was the previous bishop of Basel and a former student and colleague of the late Metropolitan Damaskinos Papandreou, was welcomed by the director of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Metropolitan Maximos of Switzerland. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sends a message to COP25

The UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 (2 – 13 December 2019) took place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and was held with logistical support from the Government of Spain. The conference was designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in Poland last year, a key objective was to complete several matters with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent the following message to its participants in Madrid: Continue reading

Canonisation of Elder Ieronymos of Simonopetra and Elder Sophrony of Essex

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided on 28 November 2019 to canonize Elder Ieronymos of Simonopetra and Elder Sophrony of Essex.

Saint Ieronymos of Simonopetra was abbot of the Simonopetra Monastery on Mount Athos and the superior and Spiritual Father of the metochion of this monastery in Athens dedicated to the Ascension.

Saint Sophrony of Essex was born into a Russian Orthodox family in Moscow in 1896. He embarked on a successful career as a painter in Paris. After a brief period of theological study in Paris, he left for the Mount Athos in Greece, where he spent fifteen years in a monastery and seven years as a hermit. There, he became the spiritual son of a simple monk, Elder Silouan. Elder Sophrony Sakharov is best known as the compiler and editor of the writings of Saint Silouan the Athonite (1866–1938), canonized in by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1988. In addition to the biography of Saint Silouan the Athonite, Archimandrite Sophrony also wrote His Life is MineOn Prayer, and his spiritual autobiography, We Shall See Him As He Is, all of which have established him as a master of the spiritual life throughout the Orthodox world and beyond. He is also the founder of the Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, England.

Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

In a solemn atmosphere, the Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the memory of its founder, St. Andrew the Apostle. On Saturday 30 November 2019, a solemn Divine Liturgy was concelebrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and by the Pope and Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria, with the participation of Archbishop Irenaeus of Crete, Metropolitans Makarios of Anea, Basil of Constantia and Ammochostos (Church of Cyprus), Theodoritos of Laodicea, George of Guinea (Patriarchate of Alexandria), Athenagoras of Belgium, Damaskinos of Kydonia and Apokoronos, Nathanael of Kos and Nisyros, Dionysios of Zakynthos (Church of Greece), Athenagoras of Kydonia, Myronos of New Zealand, and Evstratij of Chernihiv and Nizhyn (Church of Ukraine).

The Divine Liturgy was attended by the official delegation of the Church of Rome, headed by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. On the eve, the delegation of the Vatican met in a private audience the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew  and had its bi-annual informal talks with the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Continue reading

Patriarchate of Alexandria Officially Recognizes Ukraine Autocephaly

On Friday, November 8, 2019, the Patriarchate of Alexandria officially recognized the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. During the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Archangels in the Dahir district of Cairo, His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria commemorated His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine in the diptychs. The official announcement of Patriarchate of Alexandria states: Continue reading

The Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church met in Bose

Benefiting once again from the warm and generous hospitality of the brothers and sisters of the Monastic Community of Bose, the Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, under the co-presidency of Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Job of Telmessos, permanent representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the World Council of Churches, met from 11 to 15 November 2019 at the Monastery of Bose (Italy). The Committee examined a revised draft text entitled, “Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today”. It is envisaged that a further meeting of the Coordinating Committee will be held in 2020.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Water is a right for every human being and every creature”

The International Congress “Water Week” in Amsterdam was honored by the presence of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on 5 November, 2019, shortly after his arrival in the Netherlands for a pastoral visit in link with the 50th anniversary of the Metropolis of Belgium and the Exarchate of Netherlands and Luxembourg. The “International Water Week” which are held these days in Amsterdam is a series of events which implies various international organizations, governments and companies related to water, its preservation and other means of management.

The organizers, informed since a long time of the coming of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Netherlands, invited him to pronounce the closing speech of the Congress. This is the first time that the organization has invited a spiritual leader as a speaker, giving the Church the opportunity to express her views and opinions on the precious good of water . Continue reading

International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Canterbury

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 Canterbury, England from 10 to 17 October 2019 to continue consideration of ecology and end-of-life issues. The meeting was hosted by The Very Revd Robert Willis, Dean of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Canterbury on behalf of the Anglican Communion. The Commission is deeply grateful to the Dean for his generous and warm hospitality.

As ever, the Commission’s work was undergirded by daily prayer and worship. The Commission attended the Sunday Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, and the celebration of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy at the parish of the Archangel Michael, Margate, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, Co-Chairman of the Commission. On this occasion Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate) made his first visit to the parish and greeted members of the Commission. The Archbishop generously hosted a lunch, provided by the parish community and Archimandrite Vissarion Kokliotis. Continue reading

In Memoriam Elias Crisostomo Abramides

Elias Crisostomo Abramides, an active delegate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the World Council of Churches since 1990, suddenly passed away in Buenos Aires on 21 October 2019. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a Greek Orthodox family. Licentiate in Chemical Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, orientated to Environmental Protection Studies, he was since 1991 a commissioner and an advisor of the WCC. He co-founded the WCC Working Group on Climate Change of which he was co-moderator, and was designated as WCC contact person to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He was also Executive Secretary of the Ecumenical Commission of Christian Churches in Argentina and a member of the Argentine Council for Religious Freedom. He was a speaker on “Religious Approaches to Climate Change” in the 2018 G20 Interfaith Forum meeting in Buenos Aires. His conferences, lectures, articles and statements written at local and international levels were mainly centred on climate change and protection of Creation from the justice, ethical and historical standpoint. We reproduce here his last contribution to the July-August 2019 issue of Enimerosis, the Newsletter of the Permanent Representation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the WCC. May his memory be eternal! Continue reading

WCC General Secretary nominated as presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway

The Bishops’ Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway has nominated World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as its new presiding bishop. There is an overall college of bishops behind the nomination. There is only one nominee for the position, as the regulations allow.

The nomination is now being forwarded to the National Church Council, which is responsible for the further process until the appointment. The National Church Council has arranged for appointment at its meeting in Trondheim on 30-31 January 2020. Continue reading