Georges Lemopoulos retires after 30 years of service at the WCC

On 26 January 2017, the World Council of Churches honoured its deputy general secretary, Mr. Georges Lemopoulos, upon his retirement after his 30 years of faithful service to the council and the ecumenical movement. Lemopoulos served also as Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from 2008 to 2015.

Georges Lemopoulos served under five different WCC general secretaries, attended five general assemblies, 22 central and 52 executive committee meetings, numerous special ecumenical gatherings and worked in a range of different capacities within the council (from intern to staff member to deputy general secretary). His unique experience gave him the capacity of a highly critical and thoughtful approach to all WCC issues, always evaluating the present in the light of the past and of the future, strengthening the fellowship of churches and their vision. Continue reading

Faith and Order Study Group on Ecclesiology met in Bossey

The Faith and Order Study Group on Ecclesiology held a meeting at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, near Geneva, 8-12 January 2017, to continue its study of responses to the convergence document “The Church: Towards a Common Vision” submitted by Churches, councils of Churches, ecumenical organisations and individuals. So far, Faith and Order has received almost 60 responses and it is expected that this number or grow in the coming weeks and months. The group analysed carefully more than twenty responses. Its work will continue through video conferences in the coming weeks as well as through the Faith and Order Commission meeting that will take place in South Africa next June. The process is slow because each response is analysed individually by the whole group. Continue reading

Message of the Fifth European Catholic-Orthodox Forum

Paris, France, 9–12 January 2017

“Take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33)

  1. At the invitation of His Eminence Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, the 5th European Catholic-Orthodox Forum was held from 9th to 12th January, 2017 at the headquarters of the Missions Etrangères of Paris, France. The Forum was co-chaired by Cardinal Peter Erdő, on behalf of the President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) and Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Continue reading

Fifth European Catholic-Orthodox Forum

The fifth European Catholic-Orthodox Forum met in Paris (France) on 9-12 January 2017 at the Missions Étrangères de Paris. This is the fifth edition of the Forum, an initiative promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) along with the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the accordance of the Orthodox Churches present in Europe. It includes the participation of 12 representatives from the Orthodox Churches in Europe and 12 delegates from the Catholic Church. Among the Orthodox delegation were representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Churches of Russia, Serbia, Romania, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Albania and Czech Lands and Slovakia. The Catholic delegation included representatives from Belarus, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia and Turkey. Continue reading

2017: Year of Protection of Childhood

In his Christmas encyclical, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew proclaimed 2017 as the year of Protection of Childhood. “We appeal to all of you to respect the identity and sacredness of childhood. In light of the global refugee crisis that especially affects the rights of children; in light of 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 and their subjection to consumerism, we 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

Meeting of the Joint Preparatory Committee of Orthodox-Lutheran Theological Dialogue

In view of convening in 2017 the 17th Plenary Session of the official International Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the World Lutheran Federation, the Joint Preparatory Committee met on 7–13 December, 2016 on Cyprus to discuss subjects related to the biblical foundation of priesthood in the two Traditions; priesthood in the Ancient Church, the Ecumenical Councils and the Medieval Tradition; the relationship between the ordained ministry and priesthood of all the believers; and the episcopal function and the Apostolic succession.

The meeting was hosted in Nicosia by the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II under the hospices of the Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos and Orinis. It was chaired by the two co-presidents, Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima and Bishop Dr. Christoph Klein. Continue reading

Athos—Kyiv: 1000 years of spiritual and cultural links

On 8 December 2016, the Permanent Representation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Permanent Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the WCC co-hosted an event dedicated to 1000 years of spiritual and cultural links between Mount Athos and the Church of Kyiv. It included an exhibition of photographs about the Holy Mountain and a presentation of a film entitled “1000 years on Athos” [YouTube⇒], prepared by the International Institute of Athonite Heritage in Ukraine in cooperation with the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate). A special greeting from His Eminence Metropolitan Onuphriy of Kyiv (head of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine) was read for the occasion and the film presentation was followed by a lecture of Mr. Serhiy Shumylo (of the International Institute of Athonite Heritage in Ukraine) on his publications tracing a millennium of inter-relations between Mount Athos and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It ended with a discussion that focused on Athos as a model for Church unity transcending national and cultural barriers.

Ecumenical Patriarch’s Ecumenical Pilgrimage in South Italy

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is visiting South Italy on 1-7 December 2016. On 1 December, he participated in an ecumenical prayer at the cathedral of Lecce where he delivered a brief homily⇒, in which he described his visit as a pilgrimage “to meet the brothers in the West, to hug their children that live here and give witness of Christian love, and to breathe together friendship and dialogue with all”. Continue reading

Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Thronal Feast
On 30 November 2016, on the feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First Called, the Ecumenical Patriarchate celebrated its Thronal Feast. According to the established tradition, the celebration was attended by a delegation from the Church of Rome that came for the occasion and was composed by His Eminence Kurt Cardinal Koch (President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), His Excellency Archbishop Brian Russell (Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey), His Grace Bishop Brian Farrell (Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and Monsignor Andrea Palmieri (Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity).

The Divine Liturgy was presided by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in concelebration with their Eminences the Metropolitans Iakovos of the Princes Islands, Joseph of Proikonesos, Meliton of Philadelphia, Dimitrios of Sebastia, Irenaios of Myrophytos and Perisatis, Chrysostom of Myra, Vasilios of Konstantia and Ammochostos, Emmanuel of France, Gennadios of Sassima, Amphilochios of Adrianople, Gerasimos of Petra and Cheronnissos and Georges of Karpenesion. Continue reading