“Extreme weather phenomena remind us the reaction of nature” says Ecumenical Patriarch

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a statement on the extreme weather phenomena, due to which seven people died recently and many were injured in Chalkidiki, in Northern Greece, on 10 July 2019.

The Ecumenical Patriarch said that the extreme weather phenomena remind us the reaction of nature as a result of the disrespectful human interference in it. He stressed that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had been struggling for the protection of the natural environment since 1989 because the consequences of its devastation affect the whole planet. He stated that he was close to the families of the victims, in spirit and prayer, and urged all to pray for the repose of the souls of the victims and recovery of the injured: Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarchate elected a new Archbishop for Great Britain

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at its regular session of 12 June 2019, has elected Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles as new Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. He succeeds to His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios who enters his retirement after serving in the United Kingdom for 60 years as deacon, priest, assistant Bishop and Archbishop.

His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain was born in Tampa, Florida, USA in 1955 and was serving until now as Director of Patriarch Athenagoras Patriarchal Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, California, USA. He has been involved in the organisation of three Forums on Modern Slavery hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 2017. He will be enthroned in the Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom in London on 27 July 2019.

Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Response to False, Unsubstantiated, and Slanderous Charges Regarding Ukraine Autocephaly

After journalists’ questions about offensive statements against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which were allegedly made recently by a member of the autonomous presence of the Patriarchate of Moscow in Ukraine, the Director of the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Nikos Papachristou, said:

Allegations or information from anyone claiming that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in order to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, allegedly sought and received, or requested, any form of compensation, financial or other, whether from political or ecclesiastical persons, is absolutely false, unsubstantiated and slanderous. At the same time, such allegations are also highly offensive to the Mother Church of Constantinople, from which nine other local Churches, including Moscow, received their Autocephaly, through analogous and similar processes.

It is characteristic that the Ecumenical Patriarch, in a recent speech referring to the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, pointed out that “the proper ecclesiological response given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate was and is always based on the eternal tradition of the Church, inspired by the Gospel, with respect to the sacred canons and free from any political and diplomatic pressure. Indeed, this must be made clear in the light of the accusations and misinformation circulating on the Internet, the well known fake news, which is used against the canonical rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Continue reading

Pope Francis of Rome gave relics of Saint Peter to the Church of Constantinople

The delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which participated in the celebration of the throne feast of the Church of Rome on 29 June 2019, received from Pope Francis an unexpected and valuable gift: a reliquary with the holy relics of Saint Peter the Apostle, which were kept in the private chapel of the Pope at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. These are nine fragments of Saint Peter’s bones, which, after important archaeological excavations, have been confirmed to be authentic. At the request of Pope Paul VI in 1968, these fragments have been separated from the rest of the relics and placed in a bronze reliquary with the inscription: “Of the bones found in the Vatican Basilica belonging to the holy Apostle Peter”. These relics were exhibited in the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican only once, on 24 November, 2013, on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Year of Faith. The rest of the relics of the Apostle are kept under the main altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Continue reading

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 Maximos of Melitene, and the Reverend Deacon Vosporios Magafas, Codex Writer of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, arrived to Rome on 27 June 2019 to participate in the Thronal Feast of the Church of Rome. On 28 June, they took part in the conversations with the members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. During the meeting they discussed current issues of the two Churches as well as future steps of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Churh and the Orthodox Church. The next meeting of the Coordinating Committee is planned for this coming November at the Monastery of Bose (Italy) to continue the study of a text entitled «Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today». They were then 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, and Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council. 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 26 June 2019 in the Deanery of the Cathedral of Canterbury (United Kingdom). 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), Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, 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 Tim Thornton and Graham Usher, Reverend Dr. Will Adam, Reverend Canon Philip Hobson and Reverend Neil Vigers. 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.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Celebrated His Name’s Day

“The Phanar is always a source of light and hope. And it does not blow out, nor with the winds blowing from East and West, nor with the winds blowing ice today from the steppes of the North” said the Ecumenical Patriarch at Vespers while celebrated his name’s day at the Monastery of Baloukli, in the presence of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece and the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine.

“The truth for Ukraine, for her Church, for all that happen for her, will shine through and prevail,” underlined the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who on Monday afternoon presided from the throne the Great Vespers for the feast the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas. The service was held in the Monastery of Life-bearing Spring of Baloukli, in the presence of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv and all Ukraine, a multitude of hierarchs, clergymen, archons, headed by their President Gerasimos Fokas, the General Consul of Greece in the City Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou accompanied by the Consul George Gaitani, the General Consul of Ukraine Mr. Oleksandr Gaman, and the faithful from the City and abroad. Mr. Hasan Baltaci and Mr. Ismet Tokdemir, members of the Republican People’s Party, were also present. Continue reading

World Council of Churches responds to misleading media reporting on Ukraine

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church Department of External Church Relations, visited the World Council of Churches (WCC) at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 5 June, 2019, during a visit to Switzerland. In a meeting with Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, he reiterated the position of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church that WCC remains important for the Russian Orthodox Church, which will continue to participate in WCC’s work. The WCC general secretary expressed appreciation for this message. “Your presence here affirms that the Russian Orthodox Church is a part of the WCC’s work for unity and peace”, said Tveit.

Many media have misquoted Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on Ukraine. Following is the correct position of the WCC:

1. The WCC does not – according to the Ecumenical protocol – interfere or comment on the internal discussions in the Orthodox family about canonical status.

2. The WCC general secretary said nothing new on the WCC positions on the situation in Ukraine.

3. The WCC has one member church with presence in Ukraine: the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the Halki Summit III in Istanbul

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, speaking at the Halki Summit III in Istanbul, reflected that all of us are called to serve as priests of God’s creation. The summit held on 1-3 June, 2019 convened distinguished representatives of Orthodox theological schools and seminaries from all over the world, and focused on the theme of “Theological Formation and Ecological Awareness.” Some 50 delegates from over 40 institutions were in attendance.

In a keynote address on 1 June, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that, in light of the ecological crisis, the gathering provides a platform for conversation and promotes an atmosphere of dialogue to discern and foster changes in attitudes and lifestyles. Continue reading

Ecumenical Patriarch met the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine

On 31 May, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received a delegation from the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine at the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that “the recent granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine had nothing to do with politics and geopolitics” but “was before all a pastoral concern for justice, for spiritual justice.” It was granted “based upon the centuries-old tradition of the Church, inspired by the Gospel, respectful of the holy canons and free of any political and diplomatic pressure.” He reminded that “the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine followed the same process whereby ecclesiastical independence was granted to all of the newly created Churches.” His All-Holiness also explicitly underlined that “as for Filaret, he was restored to his episcopal dignity as former Metropolitan of Kiev. The so-called ‘Patriarchate of Kiev’ does not exist and never existed.”

Here is the full message that His All-Holiness delivered: Continue reading