WCC Planning Committee for the 11th Assembly in 2021

As it concluded its meeting in Cyprus, held from 9-16 January, and hosted by Metropolitan Vasilios of Ammochostos and Constantia of the Church of Cyprus, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly Planning Committee (APC) released a report to the WCC Executive Committee detailing building blocks for the 11th WCC Assembly, to be held in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2021.

There will be 775 delegates at the assembly. The Assembly Worship Planning Committee will hold its first meeting in the Karlsruhe region on 5-11 July 2019. A host committee is soon to be established in order  to involve churches on national, regional and local levels. The APC also discussed the theme for the assembly: “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” In its report, the APC described the 11th Assembly as “a place of listening to each other, building trusted relationships, discerning together the way forward, encouraging each other to work together for change, and celebrating Christ’s gift of love with gratitude and joy.” Continue reading

Archimandrite Michael Anishchenko appointed head of stauropegion in Kiev

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, during its meeting on 9-11 January 2019, following its decision of 11 October 2018 to restaure a stauropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev, one of the many stavropigia that the Ecumenical Patriarchate used to have in Ukraine in the past centuries, has appointed as its head The Very Reverend Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne Michael Anishchenko, who headed until now the Orthodox Community in Antalya (Turkey) of the Holy Metropolis of Pisidia.

Forum on Modern Slavery – Awareness, Action and Impact

The Third International Forum on Modern Slavery organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the theme “Awareness, Action and Impact” took place in Istanbul, Turkey on 5-8 January 2019. Recognizing that modern slavery is a global scourge that traps millions of people to lives of suffering, injustice and humiliation, His All-Holiness established a Task Force on Modern Slavery as a commitment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to learn, to act and to witness towards the elimination of the interconnected forms of visible and invisible enslavement affecting over 46 million people worldwide. The first Forum, “Sins Before Our Eyes,” was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in February 2017. The second Forum, “Old Problems in the New World,” was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in May 2018. Continue reading

Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine

On Saturday, January 5, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of Autocephaly, thereby officially granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Present for this special ceremony, which took place in the Venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George, were His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine, His Excellency Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, numerous Ukrainian government officials and members of parliament, Hierarchs of the Throne and several international press and media outlets. Continue reading

Communiqué concerning the new Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Ukraine

It is with praise to God, great joy and satisfaction that the Ecumenical Patriarchate announces the successful completion of the work of the Unifying Synod (Sobor)—foundational of the new Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Ukraine—which was convened in Kyiv today, December 15th, 2018. Metropolitan Epiphanios of Pereiaslav and Bila Tserkva was elected as its Primate.

His Beatitude, the newly-elected Primate, contacted His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, expressed his respect and asked the wishes and blessings of the Mother Church for fruition of his primatial ministry, which starts under good auspices.

In this context, it is announced that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew invited His Beatitude Epiphanios to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Phanar on the great feast of Theophany and to deliver to him the Tomos of establishment of the new sister Autocephalous Church.

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 15th of December, 2018

From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod

Thronal Feast at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

In a festive atmosphere, the Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the memory of its founder, the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called. On 30 November 2018, a Patriarchal and Synodal Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George at Phanar in Istanbul, during which the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ordained to the rank of deacon the sub-deacon Andrij Krochak of Ukrainian origin, giving him the name of Iakovos .

A delegation of the Church of Rome headed by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity attended the Divine Liturgy. Many Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, clergy, monks and nuns from the City and from Greece were also present, as well as the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Mr. Markos Bolaris, representative of the Greek Government, the Ankara Ambassadors of Greece, Mr. Petros Mavroidis, and of Ukraine, Mr. Andrii Sybiha, the General Consuls of Greece, Mr. Georgios Sultanopoulou, of Ukraine, Mr Oleksander Gaman, of Georgia, Mr Ing Kikvadze, and Mr Rostislav Pavlenko, Advisor to the President of Ukraine, diplomats, Archons of the Great Church of Christ and a multitude of believers. The homily was pronounced by Bishop Makarios of Christoupolis. Continue reading

Visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Orthodox Church of Romania

At the invitation of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in Bucharest on 23 November 2018 to participate in the celebrations organized by the Church of Romania on the occasion of the inauguration of its new Cathedral. The Patriarch was accompanied by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Prousa, the Grand Archimandrite Bessarion and the Grand Archdeacon Theodoros, Mr. Nicholas Papachristou (Director of the Press and Communications Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) and Mr. Petros Bazagarlos from the Secretariat.

On 24 November, the Ecumenical Patriarch spoke to the Holy Synod of the hierarchy of the Patriarchate of Romania, expressing his hope that “the Romanian Orthodox Church will be involved in preserving church unity and justice”, underlining the close relationship of the two churches as well as the spiritual bounds between them. Concerning the Holy and Great Council, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that “there really was a historical moment in which Orthodoxy passed a faith test on the evangelical truth of the Church as the Body of Christ and the synodal tradition.” Addressing Patriarch Daniel of Romania, he stated: “Your Beatitude’s personal involvement in the historical achievement of the Holy and Great Council, your theological and dogmatic knowledge, as well as your way of honest, intelligent, brilliant and skilled way of participation at every stage, in collaboration with the other Primates, made everything to have a wonderful and invaluable conclusion.”  Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew keynote speaker at World Children’s Day Event

A message in every direction about the need to protect children and preserve childhood was sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during a keynote address  dedicated to World Children’s Day, held on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at the initiative of the World Council of Churches , at its Geneva Headquarters, in cooperation with UNICEF. The Ecumenical Patriarch was the keynote speaker of the event, attended by celebrities from around the world, and as a part of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the WCC, to which the Ecumenical Patriarchate has made a decisive contribution.

At this moment, our eyes are turned not to our common past, but toward our common future: our children. It is important to bear in mind that children do not only represent our future, but that they are in fact the present upon which the future is being built,” noted the Ecumenical Patriarch, and at another point in his speech in English inter alia, stressed: “Protecting children from any kind of violence has always been and should remain an essential message of Christianity. Therefore, Christians are called to protect children both in society and within their own communities.” He expressed the satisfaction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the cooperation between UNICEF and the World Council of Churches in this direction. Continue reading

Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue betweeen the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches met in Bose

The Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue betweeen the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, under the co-presidency of Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, met from 13 – 17 November 2018, at the Monastery of Bose (Italy).

Present at the meeting were ten Catholic members and nine Orthodox representatives of various Churches. The members of the Committee were generously hosted by the Monastic Community of Bose. At the opening of the meeting, the Founder of the Community, Brother Enzo Bianchi, and the Prior, Brother Luciano Manicardi, welcomed the participants and gave the assurance of the community’s prayers and support for the work of the Committee.

The Committee examined a draft of the text entitled, “Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today”, prepared by a mixed sub-commission. The Coordinating Committee will evaluate a revised version of the draft at its next meeting, planned for November 2019.