On 6 October 2021, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had a meeting with the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the Anglican Center in Rome. The two Church leaders, attending the same ecumenical and inter-religious events in Rome, had a cordial conversation on topics of mutual interests.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, together with His Holiness Pope Francis, attended on 7 October 2021, at the Pontifical University of Lateran, the founding ceremony of the UNESCO Chair of Ecology and Environment, which bears their name.
The ceremony included addresses of the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs. Audrey Azoulay, His Eminence Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Chancellor of the University, Mr. Vincenzo Buonomo, Rectorof the University and at the end the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Pope. The foundation of this UNESCO Chair, as all the speakers pointed out, will contribute to a better knowledge of the issues of the protection of the environment as a gift of God to humanity.
In the afternoon, the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch participated in the final event of the International Inter-religious Meeting “Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue” of the Community of Sant’Egidio in the historic site of the Colosseum. The event was attended by representatives of the Orthodox Churches of Russia, Serbia and Romania, as well as other Orthodox Oriental Churches and other Christian and religious communities. The event was also welcomed by Mrs. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.Continue reading
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the Opening Assembly of the International Inter-religious Meeting “Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue” of the Community of Sant’Egidio which took place on 6-7 October 2021 in Rome. Men and women of various faiths and cultures attended the meeting to search for a way of peace for the world that, thanks to the vaccination campaign, is on its way out of the pandemic. This is the thirty-fifth promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in the “spirit of Assisi”, after the historic day desired by the late Pope John Paul II in 1986. Last year, the Meeting concentrated on the theme “No One Is Saved Alone”. This year, peace seekers from different faiths and cultures are trying to put in practice this awareness and look for the way to “begin again together”.
The inauguration ceremony and the Forums were held at the La Nuvola Congress Center. The final ceremony was a prayer for peace held in the Colosseum. The opening address was given by Marco Impagliazzo, President of Sant’Egidio. With him great religious leaders took the floor, such as Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt, and Muslim representatives Mohamed Al-Duwaini, Deputy Sheykh of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistenceof the UAE, and Luciana Lamorgese, Minister of Interior of the Italian Republic.
His All-Holiness underlined that the Covid-19 “has made more evident the fact that all the peoples of the earth belong to the one human family” and that “a new beginning is only possible together”. Political leaders, religious leaders and all humanity must therefore seize the opportunity given by this moment of change to “build the future on rock and not on sand”, stressed Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Church of England. Tolerance is the future, argued Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, holder of the world’s first and only Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, established by the United Arab Emirates. “We are committed to working with all individuals and nations,” he said, “to ensure genuine respect and compassion for the dignity of every human being and to preserve basic human rights for all.”
The final ceremony was a prayer for peace held in the Colosseum with the participation of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.Continue reading
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew together with His Holiness Pope Francis participated on 5 October 2021 in a round table meeting in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican on the role of Religion in the world, regarding the Education Teachers’ Day. The Patriarch and the Pope addressed the representatives of all the Churches and Religious Communities that had been invited, together with the competent representative of UNESCO.Continue reading
On 4 October 2021, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting at the Vatican and together with Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and other religious leaders he signed a joint appeal. The signing of the text was followed by brief addresses by the Pope, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as representatives of the main religious communities.
His All-Holiness stressed: “We need this dialogue in order to sustain the environment, in order to coexist with one another as human beings and as part of God’s sacred human creation, and we need it in order to simple be, breath and love one another.” The Ecumenical Patriarch and the other faith leaders marked their personal commitment by pouring soil upon the roots of a young olive tree that will be planted in the Vatican gardens.
The Ecumenical Patriarch then met in person with Pope Francis and had cordial fraternal communication on issues of mutual interest. In the afternoon, His All-Holiness spoke at the “Science and Ethics for Happiness Project” meeting about world poverty. The meeting took place at the Vatican Academy of Sciences, under the scientific responsibility of Professor Jeffrey Sachs.Continue reading
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended and spoke at the 14th International Conference “World Policy Conference”, which took place on 1-3 October 2021 in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He has previously participated as an official speaker in the World Policy Conference Conferences, organized in various cities by the French Institute of International Relations (Institut français des relations internationales – IFRI).
The Ecumenical Patriarch, accompanied by His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon and the Patriarchal Deacon Barnabas Grigoriadis, had a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with whom he had a very cordial relationship.
His All-Holiness pointed out the importance of dialogue as a means of resolving problems in his official address at the beginning of the work of the Conference, which can be read below in French. He described the current state of international concern and called for solidarity, openness, responsibility and joint action. He also referred to many inter-Christian and inter-religious meetings of the recent past and stressed the importance of religion for the peaceful coexistence of peoples and nations, strongly scolding the phenomena of religious fanaticism and intolerance.Continue reading
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”.
For the first time, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion have jointly warned of the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Justin Welby urge everyone to play their part in ‘choosing life’ for the future of the planet.
In a joint statement, the three Christian leaders speak against injustice and inequality and call on people to pray, in this Christian season of Creation, for world leaders ahead of COP26 this November, to make meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet, working together and taking responsibility for how we use our resources, and to choose people-centred profits and lead the transition to just and sustainable economies.Continue reading
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew inaugurated on 4 September 2021 the Forum on Ecumenical Initiatives for the Protection of the Environment and Culture, organized by the European Center of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments in collaboration with the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul.
In his opening remarks, His Holiness said that humanity continues to experience the painful environmental and social effects of the global ecological crisis, and made particular reference to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s environmental initiatives, which aim to raise awareness of globalization and the direction of the protection and preservation of the Creation of God as a whole. “The ecological initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have inspired parliaments, universities, ecological organizations, other Churches and religions” said the patriarch. The efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate contributed to the integration of ecological issues into ecumenical and interfaith dialogues.
His All-Holiness and the participants were welcomed by Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou, Consul General of Greece, and addressed by Professor Natalia Poulou, Chairman of the Board of the European Center of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments, by Dr. Flora Karagianni who presented the program “Monuments in Nature. A Creative Co-existence”, in the framework of which the Forum took place and Dr. Charalambos Hotzakoglou, Chairman of the Board of the Society for Cypriot Studies. Two exhibitions were launched under the title: “Nature in Art”. The proceedings of the Conference continued at the Theological School of Halki.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened the Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from from 1st to 3rd September 2021. More than 130 hierarchs from all over the world gathered at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Divine Liturgy celebrating the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year (Indiction) and then met at the Hilton hotel in Istanbul to discuss major issues afflicting mankind, especially the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus, which was addressed not only by the episcopate, but also by the prestigious professor of medicine Dr. Sotirios Tsiodras. Among other issues discusses were the proclamation of the Gospel in the 21st century, the modern geopolitical constituencies and the role of the Church in it, the inter-Christian and inter-religious relations, the pastoral care at all levels of the people of God and the role of monasticism.