Annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions took place in Christiansfeld

The Annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions took place in Christiansfeld (Denmark) on 8-10 October 2019 hosted by the Moravian Church Worldwide Unity Board.The annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions brings together representatives from diverse Christian traditions to discuss their work and fellowship together.

Secretaries heard reports from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church, World Council of Churches, Baptist World Alliance, Global Pentecostalism, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council, International Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Mennonite World Conference, Moravian Church Worldwide Unity Board, Organization of African Independent Churches, Global Christian Forum, World Convention of the Churches of Christ, World Evangelical Alliance, World Methodist Council, Lutheran World Federation, Anglican Communion, The Salvation Army, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Armenian Apostolic Church, and the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists. Continue reading

First Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 18th Plenary Session of the International Joint Commission on the Theological Dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Orthodox Church

The First Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 18th Plenary Session of the International Joint Commission on the Theological Dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Orthodox Church was held in Tirana, Albania, from the 24th of September to the 1st of October 2019. The Meeting was hosted by the Orthodox Chuch in Albania with the generous hospitality of H.B. Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, and took place at the Skete of the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women, next to St. Vlash Monastery/ Orthodox Theological Academy.
The Meeting, Co-chaired by H.E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima (Ecumenical Patriarchate) from the Orthodox side, and by Bishop Dr. Johann Schneider (Evangelical Church in Central Germany/EKMD) from the Lutheran World Federation side, discussed the theme of “The Place and the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church”. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Syrian-Aramean community in Sweden

In the frame of his pastoral visit to Sweden, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Saint Ephrem Cathedral of the Syrian-Aramean Church in the district of Södertälje on 29 September 2019, where he was received by Mor Dioscoros Benyamin Atas (Patriarchal-Vicar of Sweden), Mor Philoxenus Yusuf Cetin (Archbishop and Patriarchal-Vicar of Istanbul and Ankara), priests and a large number of Syrian Orthodox faithful. The Ecumenical Patriarch delivered a homily, prayed and paid respect for the Syriac Martyrs of Sayfo. A reception followed in his honor.

There are approximately 150,000 Assyrians in Sweden. With the majority of them being believers of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, their patriarch appointed the first priest in Södertälje in 1971.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Lutheran Church of Sweden

During his pastoral visit to Sweden on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden and All Scandinavia, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Lutheran Church of Sweden and addressed the Church of Sweden General Synod, where he was the guest of honor, on 1 October 2019. On that occasion, he  has awarded the Plaque of St Erik by Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén for his commitment to religious freedom, human rights and care for creation.

The citation reads: “His All Holiness, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome & Ecumenical Patriarch. For his efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights, for calling the attention of the world to the needs of refugees and for across the globe showing that care for creation is an ecumenical and spiritual responsibility.” Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch’s Message on the occasion of the UN International Summit on Climate Action

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a Message to the Secretary-General of the United Nations His Excellency António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, on the occasion of the United Nations International Summit on Climate Action that took place in New York on 23 September 2019, in which he urged all the leaders of the international community to step up their ambition and accelerate progress “toward meeting the decarbonization targets of the Paris Agreement, as well as to begin looking beyond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s indisputable imperative for net zero emissions as soon as possible.” Also, the Ecumenical Patriarch, known for his initiatives to raise the awareness of the world community about the need to protect the natural environment as part of Creation, in his Message encourages “the world’s economically developed countries to provide the necessary financial support to developing countries in order to facilitate a socially equitable and efficient transition to an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly course of development. While investment models can be successful, charitable giving must not be overlooked.”

In his Message, the Green Patriarch recalls that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the first Encyclical issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the protection of the environment and since then 1 September of each year has been dedicated as the World Day of Prayer for the protection of Creation. Here is his message: Continue reading

The Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Uppsala signed joint Op-Ed on Climate Justice

In the next few days, Sweden will be visited by one of the leading lights of the Christian world: the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, head of the second-largest Church community in the world: the Eastern Orthodox Church. His constant work for the wellbeing of the creation, the environment and the climate has resulted in him being known as the Green Patriarch. About ten years ago, he was among Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. He has always insisted that ecological issues are basically also existential and spiritual issues, which is an insight that the western world has been slow to take on board.

Patriarch Bartholomew is now set to visit the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Sweden and all Scandinavia. He will also speak at the Church of Sweden’s General Synod. He co-signed together with Archbishop Antje Jackelén a joint “opposite the editorial page” on Climate Justice published in the famous newspaper Dagens Nyheter on 24 September 2019: Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with Pope Francis

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican on 17 September 2019, during his visit to Italy to deliver the keynote address on 16 September at the 24th International Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Society of which he was a founding member, and to officially visit the Italo-Albanase Eparchy of Lungro in Calabria for its 100th anniversary between 18-20 September.

The meeting between Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch, held in “a fraternal atmosphere”, was marked by an exchange of gifts and followed by a lunch together with the respective delegations at Casa Santa Marta. Before the meeting, at the invitation of Bishop Marcello Semeraro, secretary of the Council of Cardinals, the Ecumenical Patriarch made a brief greeting to the cardinal members of the Council and emphasized to them the value of synodality in the Orthodox Church and assured them of his prayer. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the 24th International Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was the keynote speaker of the 24th International Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, which was held in Rome from 16-20 September 2019 on the theme “Fifty Years of Encounter Among the Eastern Churches: How Canon Law Assists in the Ecumenical Dialogue”.  The Society brings together experts from the Eastern Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Churches.  This momentous occasion marked the 50th Anniversary since the founding of the Society and provided an opportunity for participants to reflect upon these fifty years of encounter and how the canonical tradition has assisted in the development of the Ecumenical dialogue.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who was one of the founding members of the Society and served as its first Vice-President after its founding in 1969, stressed in his keynote address that “the role of the Society cannot but be actively supportive of the Roman-Catholic – Orthodox formal theological dialogue. Our mixed theological committee could find useful relevant material to that end in the papers and conclusions of the Society’s congresses”. He reminded that “in terms of the importance of canon law for the advancement of the theological dialogue between the two sister Churches, the Ravenna Agreed Statement affirms: ‘In order for there to be full ecclesial communion, there must be, between our Churches, reciprocal recognition of canonical legislations in their legitimate diversities’ (§ 16).” Therefore, according to the Ecumenical Patriarch, “it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to reach the conclusion that the perception of canon law as a tool for the promotion of the ecumenical dialogue is deeply embedded within the DNA of the Society.” Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: The gift of the relics is a crucial step

In an exclusive interview by Andrea Tornielli for with Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople speaks of his surprise at Pope Francis’ unexpected gift, and says how the key to evangelization is through service. He also mentions the fires in the Amazon, and explains the spiritual and theological reasons why we need to be committed to the environment. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople, has described Pope Francis’ gift of a portion of the relics of Saint Peter as “a new milestone” and a “crucial step” in the journey towards Christian unity.

Your Holiness, what was your first reaction when you received Pope Francis’ gift of the reliquary containing the nine fragments of the bones believed to be those of the Apostle Peter?

“I must admit that at the beginning we were very surprised to learn that His Holiness, our brother Pope Francis, was giving us such a treasure. This gesture surprised many. Not even the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that was in Rome for the patronal feast of our Sister Church expected it. Usually this type of event is the subject of protocol discussions. It was not so this time. We sincerely appreciate this gift, which is the manifestation of spontaneity, a sign of the true fraternal love that today unites Catholics and Orthodox”. Continue reading

Letter of Pope Francis to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Concerning the Gift of the Relics of Saint Peter

His Holiness Pope Francis of Rome has sent the following letter to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on 30 August 2019 in which he explains the gift of the relics of Saint Peter, delivered to the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the Feast of St. Peter and Paul:

To His Holiness Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch

Your Holiness, dear Brother,

With deep affection and spiritual closeness, I send you my cordial good wishes of grace and peace in the love of the Risen Lord. In these past weeks, I have often thought of writing to you to explain more fully the gift of some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter that I presented to Your Holiness through the distinguished delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate led by Archbishop Job of Telmessos which took part in the patronal feast of the Church of Rome. Continue reading