Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated the 30th anniversary of his election

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated on 22 October 2021 the Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his election to the Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne, in concelebration with their Eminences Metropolitans Elders Emmanuel of Chalcedon and Dimitrios of the Princes’ Islands, the Metropolitans Dimitrios of Metres and Athyra, Alexios of Atlanta, Joseph of Proikonnisos, Meliton of Philadelphia, Seraphim of Sevastia, Kyrillos of Krene, Joseph of Buenos Aires, Plato of Lagada, Litis and Rentinis, Kallinikos of Kastoria and Bartholomew of Polyane and Kilkis.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch was greeted on behalf of the Hierarchy by His Eminence Metropolitan Elder Emmanuel of Chalcedon. Greeting Messages were also read from their Beatitudes the Pope and Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, Patriarch Daniel of Romania, Archbishop Chrysostom of Cyprus, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and all Albania and Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and All Ukraine, as well as from of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on behalf of the Greek Government.

Were present many hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, the Representative of the Holy Sepulcher in Constantinople His Eminence Archbishop Nektarios of Anthidona, members of delegations of the local autocephalous Orthodox Churches, clergy, monks and nuns, representatives of other Christian Churches in Turkey, the Ambassadors of Greece and Ukraine and other diplomats, and many faithful from Constantinople and pilgrims from abroad.

His All-Holiness also received many greetings, in writing and by telephone, from Primates of Churches, Heads of State, Prime Ministers and political leaders, hierarchs, religious leaders and many personalities, as well as many believers of all nationalities from around the world.

Pope Francis greeted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his election

On 22 October 2021, His Holiness Pope Francis sent to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the following letter of congratulations on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his election as Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch:

“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev 1:4)

Dearest brother in Christ,

On the joyful occasion of the 30th anniversary of your election as Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, I express my fervent best wishes: Χρόνια πολλά! Ad multos annos!

I join you in thanksgiving to the Lord for the many blessings bestowed upon your life and ministry over these years, and pray that God, from whom all gifts come, will grant you health, spiritual joy and abundant grace to sustain every aspect of your lofty service.

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The Annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions met online

The Annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions met online on 12-14 October 2021 due to the pandemic of COVID-19. The annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions brings together representatives from diverse Christian traditions to exchange information and to discuss their work and fellowship together.

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

Besides discussing the state of bilateral dialogues and contemporary topics related to the ecumenical movement, the secretaries also reflected on how the Churches have been challenged during coronavirus pandemic.

This informal ecumenical forum, dating back to 1957, sees itself as “communions of churches belonging to the same tradition and held together by this common heritage, conscious of living in the same universal fellowship and giving to this consciousness at least some structured visible expression.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch and the Pope attended the inauguration ceremony of the Chair of Ecology and Environment, which bears their name, at the University of Lateran

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.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the Inter-religious Meeting “Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth” of the Community of Sant’Egidio

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.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the meeting «Religions and Education: Towards a Global Compact on Education»

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.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting at the Vatican

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.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended the 14th International Conference “World Policy Conference”

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.

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Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest

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”.