During his pastoral visit to Hungary, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress of the Roman Catholic Church which took place in Budapest on 5-12 September 2021. In his speech delivered before the Holy Mass celebrated on 11 September evening, he stressed that the Eucharist, which means in Greek “thanks”, “reminds us that our lives and the entirety of creation are not our property, but rather they are a precious gift of God the Creator”, that we have to accept with gratitude and with glorification of the majesty of God. He pointed out that at the moment of the presentation we offer the bread and wine which represent the whole of creation that God transforms into a mystery of communion. The Ecumenical Patriarch cited the Encyclical of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete in 2016, according to which: “By participating in the holy Eucharist and praying in the Sacred Synaxis for the whole world, we are called to continue the ‘liturgy after the Liturgy’ and to offer witness concerning the truth of our faith before God and mankind, sharing God’s gifts with all mankind.”
He emphasized that people cannot be introverted and indifferent. He highlighted that the Church gathers the faithful in the Eucharistic Liturgy, “to one body, without any distinction of race, gender, age, independent of social, cultural or financial status”. The Liturgy is not the place of “a vertical encounter of each of the believers with God but a union of them in a community”. Analyzing the social impact of the eucharistic spirit, he pointed out that the initiatives of the Church for the protection of the natural environment and the culture of solidarity are rooted in the eucharistic experience and theology. He declared that the very life of the Church is applied ecology and solidarity, consequently “every objectivation and exploitation of creation and our fellow human being distort Christian cosmology and anthropology”.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also spoke at length about the need of the reconciliation the Eastern and Western Churches. He declared: “The eucharistic realization of the Church in the common chalice and in the shared Christian witness in the world is the vision and the dream of all of us”. Regarding the schism, he quoted Father Georges Florovsky who said that “according to the plan of God it should not have taken place”, since Christians belong to the very same spiritual space, “East and West organically belong together in the unity of Christendom”. He invited the pilgrims to pray to the merciful God “to strengthen and bless our endeavors to advance on the path to unity”.