Ecumenical Patriarch: The Mother Church of all Balkan peoples is Constantinople

On 10 April 2018,  visited President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mladen Ivanic  and FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov visited the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar, in Istanbul where they were cordially received by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

In their private meeting, at the Patriarchal Office, which lasted for half an hour, President Ivanic and the Ecumenical Patriarch had the opportunity to discuss various issues of the times.

An hour later, in their private meeting at the Patriarchal Office, FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov, accompanied by his wife and son, his colleagues and his Ambassador to Ankara, discussed various subjects and exchanged greetings and gifts for Easter. Continue reading

Meeting of a Working Group for the Dialogue between Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches

On 12 April 2018, at the initiative of the co-presidents of the International Theological Commission for the Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta, and in their presence, a working group, consisting of bishops from both families of Churches, met in Antelias (near Beirut, Lebanon). They were hosted by His Holiness Aram, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the evolution of the bilateral theological dialogue and to prepare the next meeting of the joint commission. This bilateral theological dialogue began in 1985 and produced, on the basis of a common understanding of the apostolic faith, a number of convergent documents on Christology. (See first and second agreed statements). The purpose of this meeting was to explore together the possibilities of reactivating this important process in the lives of the two families of churches. The next meeting of the plenary of the Commission will take place at the end of October 2018.

President of Ukraine visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s headquarters at the Phanar in Istanbul on 9 April 2018. President Poroshenko was accompanied by the Vice-President of the Government of Ukraine Mr Gennadiy Zubko, the Foreign Minister Mr Pavlo Klimkin, a large group of his collaborators and his Ambassador to Ankara Mr Andriy Sybiga.

President Poroshenko expressed his warmest Paschal wishes to the Ecumenical Patriarch who gave his blessings and expressed his wishes of the Mother Church of Constantinople to Mr. Poroshenko and to the entire Ukrainian people. Continue reading

Telephone Conversation Between the President of the Russian Federation and Ecumenical Patriarch

On the evening of Holy Tuesday, April 3, 2018, His Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, who is currently visiting Ankara, spoke over the telephone with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and expressed his gratitude for the congratulatory wishes he received on the occasion of his reelection as President of the Russian Federation. He also thanked the Patriarch for all of his efforts in advancing Orthodox unity, for the canonical permission granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which allowed for an Orthodox Chapel dedicated to St. Andrew to be built within the compounds of the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Ankara, as well as for the warm reception that the President enjoyed during his two visits to the Holy Mountain of Athos. His Excellency particularly mentioned the great respect that the Russian people have for the Mother Church of Constantinople, especially since Prince Vladimir and his people received their Christian baptism from Her, which—as stated by His Excellency—constitutes an event of great historical significance. Moreover, President Putin conveyed the fraternal greetings of His Holiness and Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, mentioning as well Patriarch Kirill’s readiness to strengthen the bond between the two Churches. He then concluded with wishes for a joyous Holy Pascha. Continue reading

The Arusha Call to Discipleship

Participants from the World Council of Churches Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) issued a “Call to Discipleship” on 13 March, the closing day of the conference. More than 1,000 people gathered in Tanzania for the CWME between 8 and 13 March,,  all are engaged in mission and evangelism, coming from different Christian traditions across the world (Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Pentecostal, and their respective Mission agencies and African Churches). His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II (Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syriac Orthodox Church) spoke on the last plenary (March 13, 2018), as the video message of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was shown at the opening plenary. The Arusha Call to Discipleship reads as follows:

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Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Voice on the Protection of Childhood heard at the UN

On 8 March 2018, Archbishop Job of Telmessos represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate at a side event of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, co-organized by Arigatou International Geneva, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, the World Council of Churches, the World Vision, the UNICEF and the World Health Organization, and focusing on Prevention of Violence in Early Childhood.

The objectives of this side event were to discuss and share knowledge on the extent and nature of violence in early childhood; identify concrete actions and share good practices to challenge cultural and social norms that justify violence against children in child upbringing; reflect on the role of religious communities to challenge social and cultural norms that justify violence against children; and identify policies and programs that can help ending violence in early childhood and support the creation of safe and nurturing environments for children. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew greets the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Tanzania

The Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) with the theme “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship,” has started on 8 March 2018, gathering representatives of mainline Protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and African-instituted Churches.

In his opening remarks, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected that this conference is a milestone in modern church history. “I believe that God is reminding us particularly in our time of what is the force driving the mission of church.” Tveit added “It is the love of God, expressed in the love of Jesus Christ through his life, crucifixion and resurrection, bringing salvation and reconciliation to the world. We should be stamped by the words of the Apostle Paul: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14).” He continued: “In our reflections these days about where the Spirit is moving us as disciples of Jesus Christ today and tomorrow, we see ourselves in a world in desperate need of peaceful and just patterns of living together as one humanity in the one, vulnerable creation of God.”

In a video message to the conference Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said “Despite all of the past challenges and hardships experienced by the African continent, we find ourselves today surrounded by a vibrant African community dancing and singing in the joy of the resurrection, marching onward on the rythm of the Holy Spirit in celebration of Humanity’s emancipation”.

Ecumenical Patriarch attending the “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace, Promoting Peaceful Coexistence & Common Citizenship”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended the “Interreligious Dialogue for Peace, Promoting Peaceful Coexistence & Common Citizenship” in Vienna on 26 February 2018.   The conference created a first-ever joint action plan for Arab religious leaders to lead the way in repairing the divisions created by extremists, and rebuilding social cohesion and common citizenship in the Arab region.

The platform will be the first of its kind for the leaders of Christian and Muslim communities in the region, a space where they can cooperate to jointly promote the best interests of all the people in the region. Religious leaders and policymakers consider this institution essential; the lack of such a platform is as an obstacle to sustained interreligious dialogue. Continue reading