Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the memory of its founder, the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called on 30 November 2022 with a solemn Divine Liturgy presided by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in concelebration with their Eminences the Senior Metropolitan Apostolos of Derka and the Metropolitans Nikandros of Irinoupolis, Polykarpos of Italy, Isaia of Tamasos and Orini (Church of Cyprus), Stephanos of Kallipolis and Madytos, Elpidophoros of America, Gerasimos of Petra and Cheronissos, Kyrillos of Ierapetra and Sitian Vissarion of Spain and Portugal, Andrew of Saranta Ekklesies and Archbishop Agapitos of Vyshhorod (Church of Ukraine) in the Patriarchal Church of St. George, at the Phanar. The homily was preached by His Eminence Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna.

The Divine Liturgy was attended by the official delegation of the Church of Rome headed by His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, by His Eminence Archbishop Nektarios of Anthedon (Representative of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem), as well as by the Very Reverend Archimandrite Georgios Christodoulou (Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece), His Excellency Mr. Christodoulos Lazaris (Ambassador of Greece in Ankara), Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou (Consul General of Greece in the City), Mr. Roman Nedilskyi (Consul General of Ukraine in the City), as well as many clergy, monastics and faithful from the City and from abroad.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the official delegation of the Roman Catholic Church with these words:

Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew participated in the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue “East and West for Human Coexistence” which took place on 3-5 November 2022 in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the patronage of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and which was attended by many eminent intellectual figures and representatives of religions from different countries. The program of the forum featured sessions that highlight the promotion of global coexistence and human fraternity, dialogue and peaceful coexistence and present the Bahrain Declaration as a model to be emulated.

During his visit, on 3 November, His All-Holiness met with His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al – Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, as well as with His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Prime Minister.

On 4 November, the Ecumenical Patriarch joined Pope Francis as well as other Christian leaders from the region for an Ecumenical Meeting and Prayer for Peace at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia in Awali. On the same day, the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch had a private meeting to discuss topics of common interest.

International Meeting of Dialogue and Prayer for Peace among World Religions

The International Meeting of Dialogue and Prayer for Peace among World Religions “The Cry For Peace” took place in Rome on 23-25 October 2022 under the initiative of the Community of Sant’Egidio. The meeting was held on two levels:

– The conference at the ‘La Nuvola’ Congress Centre in Rome, which opened in plenary on 23 October with the voices of great representatives of the political-institutional world: Andrea Riccardi, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, the French President Emmanuel Macron and Mohamed Bazoum from Niger, a key country in the fight against jihadism and the transit of migrants. These voices were echoed by those of religions: Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the French rabbi Haim Korsia, the secretary of the Islamic World League, Al Issa, together with young witnesses to the tragedy of the war in Ukraine. On 24-25 October, a series of forums addressed highly relevant issues, such as the ecological question, migration, the value of saving lives, the war that challenges Europe, and more religious topics, such as prayer, the Word of God, and a common Easter, a crucial theme of ecumenical dialogue. Speakers included His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

– The ceremony of Prayer for Peace at the Colosseum on 25 October, with the presence of Pope Francis and representatives of world religions.

This event was not only born as a reaction to the current moment of war, but was also connected to a long history of commitment of Sant’Egidio for peace, as also signified by the 30th anniversary of peace in Mozambique, celebrated a few days ago. The current situation in the world, in fact, called for new ways of dialogue, in a common effort to imagine an alternative to the current scenario of war and build peace.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Great Britain

On 20-25 October, 2022, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited Great Britain to celebrate the Centenial of the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The visit included the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of John the Baptist in Essex on 22 October and the Patriarchal and Hierarchical Concelebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom on 23 October, as well as his presence at the Even Song at St James on 23 October, and a breakfast with the London Christian leaders on 24 October.

On 25 October, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. During their half hour private meeting, His All-Holiness expressed once again his condolences for the death of the King’s Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as well as his prayers and best wishes on behalf of the Mother Church for a successful and fruitful reign. The Patriarch also mentioned the centenary anniversary celebrations of the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, as well as other topics of mutual interest.

Meeting of the International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue

In the name of the Triune God and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met in Athens from the 7th to the 14th of October 2022, hosted by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, at the Inter-Orthodox Centre in the Monastery of Penteli.

The Commission is grateful for the hospitality and welcome received from His Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and all Greece, and His Eminence Metropolitan John of Thermopylae, Abbot of the Monastery of Penteli.

The Commission discussed at length and finalised an agreed statement on Dying Well, Living Well: Our Sure and Certain Hope (The Penteli Statement). The Commission began discussions on organ donation and intends to continue consideration of this topic at its next meeting.

As in previous meetings, the work of the Commission was undergirded by daily prayer and worship. Members of the Commission attended a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Monastery of Penteli, where we remembered with thanksgiving to God the lives and contribution to the Dialogue of former members of the Commission who died this year 2022, the late Metropolitans Kallistos of Diokleia and Ilia of Philomelion.

Continue reading

Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the 11th Assembly of the WCC in Karlsruhe

The Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, presently taking place in Karlsruhe (Germany) from 31 August until 8 September 2022, is headed by Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon (Turkey) and composed of Metropolitan Iosif of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Metropolitan Job of Pisidia (Turkey), Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos (USA), Grand Synkellos Iakovos Krochak (Turkey), Archimandrite Stefan Toma (Germany), Protopresbyter Nicolas Kazarian (USA), Patriarchal Deacon Œcumenius Amanatidis (Turkey), Mr. Dionysios Bozikis (Australia), Mrs. Eleni Cho (Korea), Mrs. Kristina Mantasasvili (Greece), Mrs. Sofiya Maskat (Canada), Mrs. Marie Panayotopoulos (Austria), Mr. Georgios Vlantis (Germany), Mrs. Natallia Vasilevich (Germany) and Mrs. Angeliki Ziaka (Greece).

Greeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe

Distinguished organizers and delegates, Beloved participants and stewards of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Dear friends, brothers and sisters,

One of the core beliefs and central teachings of Christianity through the centuries is the conviction that the light of Christ shines more brightly than any darkness in our hearts and in our world. We Christians affirm and declare that the joy of the resurrection radiates through and prevails over the suffering of the cross. This is what we maintain; this is what we preach; and this is what we proclaim to the whole world. Indeed, “if Christ had not been raised from the dead, then our message is meaningless and our faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15.14). This is surely the underlying premise and focus of the theme of this assembly, which professes that “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”

Yet, even as we look around, we are obliged to confess that we have not practiced – and continue to fall short of – what we have preached over twenty centuries. How can we reconcile our magnificent faith with our manifest failure?

The answer lies in the scriptural passage for this morning’s plenary, which takes place on September 1st, the day that Orthodox Christians since 1989 have dedicated to praying for the protection of God’s gift of creation and when Christians of all confessions and communions commit to advancing the ministry of creation care. In the Letter to the Colossians (1, 19–20), we read that: “In Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether in heaven or on earth, making peace by the blood of the cross”.

Continue reading

In memoriam Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (1934-2022)

His Excellency Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia passed away on 24 August 2022, at the age of 87 years. He was an internationally renowned theologian and scholar of Orthodoxy and had great experience of ecumenism.

Metropolitan Kallistos was born Timothy Richard Ware on 11 September 1934 in Bath (England). He was educated at at Westminster School in London and Magdalen College in Oxford. He embraced the Orthodox Christian faith in 1958. He became an Orthodox monk at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Patmos, Greece. In 1966, he was tonsured as a monk and ordained to the priesthood within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The same year, he became Spalding Lecturer at the University of Oxford in Eastern Orthodox studies, a position he held for 35 years until his retirement. In 1982, he was elected bishop of Diokleia as auxilary of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. In 2007, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated him titular metropolitan of Diokleia.

In addition to his pastoral and academic duties, Metropolitan Kallistos served as Co-Chair of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue from 2009 until 2016. He was also a member of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. He served these Commissions with outstanding theological wisdom and with great joy and humour. He made an important contribution to the Ravenna Document published in 2007 by the Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, as well to the Agreed Statement ‘In The Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology’ published in 2015 by the Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue.

Metropolitan Kallistos was a prolific author and lecturer. Among his numerous books and articles, his best sellers are The Orthodox Church, first published in 1963, and The Orthodox Way, first published in 1979. He has collaborated in the English translation of the Philokalia (four volumes of five published as of 2018) and of Orthodox liturgical texts.

Archbishop Job of Telmessos promoted Metropolitan of Pisidia

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at its regular session of 22 July 2022, has elected Archbishop Job of Telmessos as Metropolitan of Pisidia, with his see in Antalya (Turkey). He succeeds to His Eminence Metropolitan Sortirios (Trambas) who passed away last June 11, after having served as the first Metropolitan of Korea (1995-2008) and having revived the liturgical and pastoral life in the Holy Metropolis of Pisidia (2008-2022).

His Eminence Metropolitan Job of Pisidia was born in Montreal, Canada in 1974 and was serving until now as the Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches (since 2015) and as Dean of the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy-Geneva (since 2019). He is also the co-president of the Joint International Commission for the theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. He will be enthroned in the Church of Saint Alypios the Stylite in Antalya on 17 September 2022.

Inter-monastic Ecumenical Meeting in Sankt-Niklausen in Switzerland

About fifty people met in Sankt-Niklausen, homeland of Nicolas de Flue, in the center of Bethanien, for the 38th “International and Interfaith Meeting of religious men and women” (EIIR), from July 6 to 12, 2022. This year marked the jubilee of this ecumenical association which changed its name. From now on it will be called “Synaxis”. On this occasion a richly illustrated book was published, tracing its history, with some key conferences.

To reflect on this year’s theme, “the consecrated life at the service of Christian Unity”, several lectures were given, among others, by Fr. Hyacinthe Destivelle (Vatican), Archbishop Job of Telmessos (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Sister Anne-Emmanuelle of Grandchamp, Mother Gabriela of Romanian monastery of Voronets, Dom Michel Van Parys (Chevetogne), Fr. Claude Ducarroz, Fr. Guido Vergauen (Institute for Ecumenical Studies, Fribourg) and Pastor Jean-Philippe Calame (Evangelical Reformed Church of Neuchâtel). Among the Orthodox participants there was also Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium (president of the EIIR), Metropolitan Seraphim from the Orthodox Church of Romania in Germany, and Fathers Philadelphos Kafalis and Emilianos Chatzivasiliou from the Holy Metropolis of Belgium.

The conference was also an opportunity to remember the founders of these meetings: the Orthodox Metropolitan Emilianos Timiadis (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and Father Julian Garcia Hernando, Spanish Catholic. Their meeting was decisive and the result was the creation of “Encuentro International e Interconfesional de Religiosas y de Religiosos” (EIIR) where they linked deep friendships with communities across Europe. The importance of religious life for Christian unity had clearly become a priority for them.