The Ecumenical Patriarch’s Second Response to the Patriarch of Jerusalem

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent an austere letter to Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, a few days after the meeting with the delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Phanar (Istanbul), and on the eve of the “fraternal gathering of primates and delegates” taking place in Amman (Jordan) on 26 February 2020 with the participation of the primates of the Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia and of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and of the delegates of the Churches of Romania and Poland.

We cannot understand how you overlook or even ignore the magnitude of the negative effects of this initiative,” wrote the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, while stressing that this “familial gathering” initiative only aims at “subverting the established norms and alienating the Orthodox Church from its ecclesiastical foundations.” Continue reading

Ecclesiology Seminar at Westminster Abbey

In preparation of the Lambeth Conference to be held between 22 July and 2 August 2020, a once-a-decade event gathering bishops of the Anglican Communion convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury for prayer, study and dialogue on Church and world issues, Westminster Abbey has organized an Ecclesiology Seminar on 17 February 2020 entitled: “Harvesting the fruits of bilateral dialogue”.

In partnership with the Anglican Communion Office, the Abbey is hosting a series of day events between November 2019 and April 2020. The international panels examine a range of themes from the fundamentals of Anglicanism to conflict and reconciliation. Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey, Dr Jamie Hawkey, said, “The seminars will reflect on a specific theme related to Anglican identity, and the nature and mission of the Anglican Communion in the twenty-first century. Each day will include a number of papers and discussion, and conclude with insight from a distinguished ecumenical guest.” Continue reading

The Ecumenical Patriarchate hosted a meeting of the working group of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism

A special working group of the World Council of Churches Commission on World Mission and Evangelism met in Istanbul, Turkey on 16 February 2020 to further explore the place and profile of transforming discipleship in the life and work of churches globally. During the meeting the group on “Transforming Discipleship” worked on a document drafting that could best depict the shape of discipleship in the light of the Arusha Call.

The group was hosted and advised by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who discussed with its members the procedure of drafting a statement on transforming discipleship. Among key aspects addressed were the de-centering of discipleship, the search for good news under colonial shadows, and the spirituality of discipleship. The group also addressed, from a missional perspective, the theme of the upcoming WCC assembly, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”

The draft statement will be going through revisions and editing in the next few months. The document will be used primarily – but not only – as a springboard to the planning of different parts of the 11th WCC Assembly.

WCC launched a new journal on Interreligious dialogue

The World Council of Churches (WCC) launched of a new journal at the Ecumenical Centre on 7 February 2020: Current Dialogue, the pioneering World Council of Churches periodical on interreligious dialogue.

The journal, a biennial publication produced since 1980 by the staff of the WCC’s office for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, is now available through WCC’s journals publishing partner, Wiley, as an annual supplemental issue to The Ecumenical Review. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch at the Interfaith Meeting in Abu Dhabi

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew underlined the important role that religions can play in preserving world peace and promoting respect for human dignity, in a spirit of solidarity and safeguarding of fundamental freedoms,  in the context of the interfaith meeting  organized on 4 February 2020 by the “International Commission on Human Brotherhood” in Abu Dhabi, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the signing, in the same city, of the “Declaration of Human Brotherhood” by the Pope of Rome and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch noted among other things:

In our times, the credibility of religions depends largely on their commitment to peace through interreligious dialogue and common witness in view of the great contemporary challenges. Genuine religion cannot betray earth for the sake of heaven, the present for the sake of future. It does not absolve humans from their responsibility in the world and for the world. On the contrary, for true believers, faith is to be a presupposition to approach rightly the earthly reality and its contradictions; to resist injustice and all tendencies that undermine social cohesion; to exercise critique on the declaration of economic indicators and profit as the absolute criteria of economic activity; and to reject the subordination of man to the tyranny of needs and the transformation even of children into unsatisfiable consumerists. Continue reading

Middle East Council of Churches releases statement on fate of kidnapped bishops

The Middle East Council of Churches issued a statement related to the case and fate of two Archbishops, Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped on 22 April 2013.

“Over the past couple of months, many worrying reports and claims regarding the case and fate of the two Archbishops Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim who were kidnapped on April 22, 2013 in the western countryside of Aleppo – Syria, went viral in media outlets,” reads the statement. “The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, have been closely monitoring these reports that are totally independent from our relentless efforts and endeavors in the search for our two missing Archbishops and we are determined to leave no stone unturned until we identify their whereabouts and their fate.” Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is attending and speaking at the World Economic Forum, which is taking place on 20-24 January 2020, in Davos, Switzerland. This is the third time that the Ecumenical Patriarch is attend the World Economic Forum. Nearly 3,000 participants from 117 countries are participating in this 50th Annual Meeting.

On 21 January, Patriarch Bartholomew spoke at a session on ecological problems and climate change. In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch called the world leaders not to put the financial interests of their countries above the real interests of the people, which are associated with the protection of our planet and with global warming, the consequence of which are the extreme weather conditions, wildfires, floods, and many others. “In order to restore the balance of our planet, we need a spiritual worldview, which promotes humility, respect and solidarity. We must become conscious of the impact of our actions on creation and other people. We must direct our focus away from what we want to what is our duty and to what the planet needs” said the Green Patriarch. Continue reading

US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom visited Ecumenical Patriarchate

On 17 January 2020, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Mr. Sam Brownback, visited the see of Ecumenical Patriarchate, after having paid a visit earlier to the Holy Trinity Monastery on the island of Halki, where used to function a Theological School. During the meeting, issues related to the mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, both locally and internationally, to the Greek diaspora and to the status of Christians in Turkey were discussed. The Ecumenical Patriarch also mentioned his scheduled visit to the USA in May and his intention to meet with US President Donald Trump.

The meeting was also attended by the US Consul General in Istanbul, Mrs. Daria Darnell, accompanied by associates of the ambassador and of the Consulate General, as well as by Metropolitan Maximos of Selyvria, the Patriarchal Deacon Iakovos Krochak and Professor Konstantinos Delikonstantis, Director of the First Patriarchal Office.

The Ecumenical Patriarch responded to the Patriarch of Jerusalem

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in an official letter of 26 December 2019, responded to the letter of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, sent to the Primates of the Orthodox autocephalous Churches, proposing a consultation “for the preservation of unity in the Eucharistic communion” of the Orthodox Church.

In his letter, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his surprise that the letter sent by the Patriarch of Jerusalem was for the first time in history written in English and not in Greek, as it is common in the correspondence between the two sees. The Ecumenical Patriarch then reminded the Patriarch of Jerusalem of whom has the prerogative of presiding over Orthodox Primates and of whom has the privilege to convene  Pan-Orthodox meetings. Continue reading

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