Statement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the attacks in Sri Lanka

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expresses his horror at the terrorist attacks that took place on the day of Western Easter celebrations in churches and hotels in the greater area of the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, causing death to dozens of our fellow human beings and injuring hundreds.

His All-Holiness unambiguously condemns all acts of terror, as well as any act of hatred, violence and fundamentalism wherever they come from, and calls on everyone to work, through dialogue and in a spirit of mutual respect, to preserve the good of peaceful coexistence and co-operation.

The Holy and Great Church of Christ prays for the rest of the souls of the victims and expresses heartfelt condolences to their families, while wishing courage and a quick recovery to the injured. At the same time, she expresses her sympathy with and support for the local Roman Catholic Church, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka.

The Ecumenical Patriarch contacted the Metropolitan of Singapore, Constantine, and asked him to convey the above message of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Roman Catholic Community, the authorities and the Sri Lankan people as a whole.

WCC Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration met in Lebanon

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration  met from 5-10 April 2019 at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon. The Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration, a committee of the WCC Central Committee, was formed to continue the authority, mandate, concerns and dynamics of the Special Commission for Orthodox Participation in the WCC; give advice and make recommendations to governing bodies during and between assemblies; facilitate and improve participation of the Orthodox in the entire life and work of the WCC; offer counsel and provide opportunity for action in matters of common interest; and give attention to matters of ecclesiology. Continue reading

The Ecumenical Patriarch’s Message of Sympathy for the Destructive Fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed to the Roman Catholic faithful of Paris and to the entire French nation – through letters addressed to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, and to the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron – his deep sorrow and sympathy for the destructive fire that occurred at the Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most significant monuments attesting to the history and spiritual identity of the French capital.

His All-Holiness highlighted that the Notre Dame is not only a cathedral, but that it constitutes a visible “meeting point” of Christian faith and human ingenuity, a symbol of the common ideals of humanity, and a “voice” from which stems a resonant petition for peace and love.

The Patriarch prays for the speedy restoration of the historical cathedral, underscoring that “the world today is wounded, and it collectively lives a special mourning, which transcends confessional and religious affiliations.”

Working Group Meeting on Discipleship at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey

A working group meeting on discipleship took place at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, Switzerland on 5-7 April 2019. Those gathered were continuing to follow up the World Council of Churches (WCC) Conference on World Mission and Evangelism held in Arusha, Tanzania in March 2018. They met at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey to reflect on the Arusha Call, a document compiling ideas from more than 1,000 people gathered in Tanzania. The theme of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism was “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship.” A tradition of the International Mission Council and the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, mission conferences are held roughly every decade.

The working group worked to point out fresh, innovative elements that the Arusha Call to discipleship is lifting up. The group also discussed the Arusha Call with an eye toward the WCC 11th Assembly in 2021. Participating in the meeting from the Ecumenical Patriarchate was the Very Reverend Second Patriarchal Deacon Nephon Tsimalis.

In memoriam Archbishop Stylianos of Australia (1935-2019)

The Archbishop of Australia Stylianos Harkianakis died following a lengthy illness in Sydney on 25 March 2019. He was born in Rethymno, on the island of Crete, Greece on 29 December 1935. He studied theology at the Theological School of Halki near Istanbul and graduated in 1958. He was ordained a deacon in 1957 and a priest in 1958. He completed postgraduate studies in systematic theology and the philosophy of religion at the University of Bonn in Germany from 1958 to 1966. He had among his professors Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI). The subject of his doctoral thesis was “The Infallibility of the Church in Orthodox Theology”, analyzing the correlation between infallibility and conciliarity of the Church. Continue reading

Interview of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by Z. Rakocevic for the Serbian newspaper “Politika”

Thank you for your time and your noble intention to give readers of “Politika” answers to very sensitive issues that characterize the positions of Orthodoxy in the modern world, namely – as you feel and know well – answers to very interesting questions about the Church of Ukraine. We admit that among the Serbian public, your explanation for this situation and your arguments have not been presented to a satisfactory degree. In contrast to this, the view and attitude of the Russian Church is constantly repeated in the Serbian media, and readers are fully familiar with them. With this interview, I am taking the opportunity to clarify your positions and recent actions. In this interview, we would like to start with some general issues, and then move on to more specific questions. Continue reading

Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Phanar

On Sunday, March 17, 2019, the Sunday of Orthodoxy and First Sunday of Great Lent, His All-Holiness solemnly concelebrated the Divine Liturgy together with Metropolitans Elder Dimitrios of the Princes’ Islands, Augustinos of Germany, Germanos of Tranoupolis, Sotirios of Toronto, Makarios of Aneon, Eugenios of Rethymno and Avlopotamos, Amphilochios of Ganou and Chora, Damaskinos of Kydonia and Apokoronos, Nathanael of Kos and Nisyros, Constantine of Singapore, and Chrysostomos of Symi. During the Liturgy, the Patriarch ordained Mr. Dimitrios Nikiforos to the Diaconate, giving him the name Aetius. Continue reading

Archbishop Job of Telmessos appointed Rector of the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy

Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches, has been appointed on 20 February 2019 Rector of the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy (Switzerland), where he is Professor of Liturgical Theology since 2010. He succeeds to Professor Vlassios Phidas who has resigned from his position of Rector.

The Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy was established as an independent academic activity of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and operates since 1996 in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Fribourg and the Protestant Theological Faculty of the University of Geneva. The mission of the Institute is to prepare young Orthodox theologians, coming from all the local Orthodox Churches, capable to conduct inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogues.

Old Catholics reflect on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church


The European Conference of the Episcopal Churches Consultation in the Netherlands and the Old Catholic archdiocese of Utrecht hosted on 15-16 February 2019 two days of reflection on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church held on the island of Crete in 2016. The keynote speaker was Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches, who spoke on the relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world and on the mission of the Orthodox Church to the contemporary world.

Present at the seminar on 15 February were among others the Archbishop Joris Vercammen of Utrecht of the Old Catholics, Bishop Dirk Jan Schoon of Harlem of the Old Catholics, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Metropolitan Isaac (Barakat) of the Patriarchate of Antiochia, Archbishop Polycarpus (Aydin) of the Syrian Oriental Orthodox Church, Fr. Theodoor van der Voort, representing Archbishop John of Charioupolis, and Fr. Hildo Bos, representing as an observer Archbishop Elisey (Ganaba) of the Russian Orthodox Church. On the next day, public lectures were attended by more than 100 participants. The meeting ended with a Vespers service celebrated according to the Orthodox Tradition.

Ecumenical Patriarch meets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

The Ecumenical Patriarch met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Ankara on 5 February 2019, responding to the invitation of the Turkish President to attend the official dinner in honor of the Prime Minister of Greece.

On the next day, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited the Holy Theological School of Halki and had a meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a cordial atmosphere. His visit on 6 February coincided with the feast of Saint Photius, Patriarch Constantinople and benefactor of the Holy Trinity Monastery of Halki where the historical theological school of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is housed, but which is unfortunately ceased to function due to the decision of the Turkish authorities.