The Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome

The Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, consisting of His Excellency Archbishop Job of Telmessos, co-president of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Theodoretos of Nazianzus, and the Reverend Deacon Alexandros Koutsis, arrived to Rome on 27 June 2018 to participate in the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome. It met on that day for conversations with the members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. On 28 June, they were received by His Holiness Pope Francis in a private audience, in the presence of His Eminence Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, His Excellency Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity,  and Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council. Continue reading

Visit of Pope Francis to the WCC

Pope Francis joined the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the moderator of its Central Committee at an ecumenical meeting during his landmark 21 June visit to the WCC to celebrate its 70th anniversary at an ecumenical meeting in Geneva. The Pope began the visit by joining in prayers in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva after flying in from Rome and then visiting the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, which is involved with theological formation. In the afternoon Pope Francis again visited the Ecumenical Centre, where the WCC does much of its work. There he spoke along with Tveit and Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the Central Committee, an important WCC governing body. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew preached at WCC 70th Anniversary

Representatives of Churches worldwide gathered at Geneva’s St Pierre Cathedral for a service of celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), at which His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew preached. The service was held in French and English, and included hymns and prayers in many languages and from many parts of the world. It was a joint celebration with the Protestant Church of Geneva.

In his homily, the Ecumenical Patriarch urged continued efforts for unity, justice and peace. “We celebrate a long common pilgrimage on the path to unity, Christian witness, and the commitment to justice, peace, and the preservation of creation.” The patriarch praised common efforts to respond to the major challenges of the age, as well as the “constructive cooperation” between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church, which is not a WCC member but works with the council in various areas. “We are aware that the movement to restore the unity of Christianity is taking new forms in order to respond to new situations and to deal with the current challenges of the world,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch. He urged dialogue, patience and openness to overcome differences and difficulties that had arisen since the WCC was founded: “Let us have no illusions. The Churches have so far been unable to overcome their divisions and achieve the much-desired unity.” The main Christian traditions represented in the WCC – the Christian East and the churches of the Reformation – needed to redefine the nature of the institution and to mark the limits within which the WCC is called to bear witness and serve, said the patriarch. He noted how the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church that convened in Crete in June 2016 had affirmed that local Orthodox churches that are members of the WCC “participate fully and equally in the bodies of this institution.” Continue reading

Informal talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Anglican Communion

The informal talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Anglican Communion took place on 19 June 2018 at the Theological School of Halki, near Istanbul. The delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate consisted of Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Orthodox co-chair of the International Commission of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue), Archbishop Job of Telmessos, and Protopresbyter Christos Christakis (Orthodox co-secretary of that Commission). The Anglican Communion was represented by the Anglican co-president, Archbishop Richard Clarke, head of the Anglican Church of Ireland, Bishops Nigel Stock and Michael Lewis and Reverend Canons Dr. Will Adam and Dr. John Gibaut. The two delegations dealt with the current issues of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Anglican Communion as well as other theological and social issues of common interest.

Celebration of the Feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle

In commemoration of the Feast of Bartholomew the Holy Apostle—patron saint of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew—His All-Holiness presided over Great Vespers at the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Peghe in Baloukli on the evening of Sunday, June 10, 2018, as well as the Divine Liturgy at the Venerable Patriarchal Church of St. George the following morning.

Members of the Holy and Sacred Synod, together with Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne, were present in prayer for both days of the solemn celebration. Among others in attendance were also various Hierarchs, Church representatives and clergy from throughout the world, a delegation from the Lutheran World Federation, as well as foreign diplomats serving in the City and Ankara.

Following the conclusion of the services, the Patriarch greeted the multitude of faithful that came from near and afar to express their heartfelt wishes and prayers. Furthermore, after the celebration of Great Vespers on Sunday evening, His All-Holiness held a Trisagion service in commemoration of the blessed memory of Bartholomew the Imbrian of Koutloumousi, Teacher of the Genos (1772-1851).

Toward a Greener Attica: Preserving the Planet and Protecting its People

The Ecumenical Patriarchate organised an international ecological symposium in Athens and the Saronic Islands on 5-8 June 2018, entitled “Toward a Greener Attica: Preserving the Planet and Protecting its People”. The symposium brought together 200 theologians and scientists, political and business leaders, professors and students, as well as activists and journalists from Asia, America, Africa, Europe, and Greece, and explored the pressing environmental problems of the region and examine the connections between ecology and economy, particularly in the context of pressing social and environmental challenges in Greece and globally.

In an article that appeared in the Greek press, His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew highlighted the spiritual roots of the ecological crisis, while emphasizing the solidarity between humanity and nature. He added: “The truth is that there are severe repercussions for the way we treat God’s creation. What we believe about our world will define how we behave toward it.” Continue reading

8th International Conference of Orthodox Theology

The four-day works of the 8th International Conference of Orthodox Theology, organized by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, were completed on Thursday, May 24, 2018, with a large number of speakers, delegates and students on the theme: “The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. Orthodox Theology in the 21st Century “.

The international academic theological community, with one hundred and twenty elected speakers, clergy and lay people, from 15 countries and 25 Theological Schools, Institutes and Research Centers, has responded to its duty to assist in the work of the Church with theological thought and research and concrete proposals. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch at the conference of Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited Rome on 23-26 May 2018 to give an address at the conference New Policies and Life Styles in the Digital Age, held on the 25th anniversary of the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation.  His addressed focused on the fields of economy and ecology, of science and technology, and of society and politics.

The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that “today, we are facing a serious crisis and its social outcomes on a global scale. We regard this worldwide crisis as a crisis of solidarity, an ongoing process of desolidarization, which puts the very future of humanity at risk. It is our deep conviction, that the future of humanity is related to the resistance against this crisis and the establishment of a culture of solidarity.”

During his visit to Rome, the Ecumenical Patriarch had a private meeting with Pope Francis, as well as a meeting with Pope Emeritus Benedict.  On 23 May, the Ecumenical Patriarch visited the Roman Basilica dei Santi XII Apostoli, where he venerated the relics of the apostles Sts. Phillip and James Brother of the Lord.

Old Problems in the New World: A Forum on Modern Slavery

Under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a second forum on modern slavery convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from May 5-8, 2018. This forum, entitled Old Problems in the New World, was co-sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Buenos Aires and South America, and the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (Berkeley, California). The purpose of this gathering was to bring together distinguished practitioners, policymakers, theologians, and scholars from within Latin America and other parts of the world to explore the myriad dimensions of the scourge of modern slavery. The forum was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, with welcoming remarks offered by diplomats and dignitaries, and opened with video messages from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Holiness Pope Francis, and His Grace Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury. Continue reading

Third Global Gathering of the Global Christian Forum

The  Global Christian Forum, which connects the broadest range of global Christianity, held its third Global Gathering in Bogotá, Colombia from 23-27 April, under the theme ‘Let mutual love continue’(Heb 13:1). It brought together the widest variety of Christian traditions, with 251 church leaders from nearly every stream of global Christianity and 55 nations.

Against the backdrop of growing division in the world, the ‘meeting itself became a message’ of careful listening and respectful engagement across barriers of old enmities and historic separations.

In recognition of the churches of the host nation, the Message said participants “have listened to, and been inspired by, witnesses working for peace. We pray that the peace process may continue in Colombia and bring hope and reconciliation to those who are suffering and struggling.” Continue reading