Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Inter-Orthodox Relations and the Ecumenical Movement

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in a long interview published by the Italian newspaper Avvenire, following an interview with three European newspapers of Christian inspiration, speaks of ecumenism, of confrontation between religions, of intra-Orthodox debates.

Your All-Holiness, you have been ministering for thirty years as Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. How do you see this time, especially the ecumenical encounters you may have had with three Roman pontiffs and with the leaders of other Christian churches?

For all that he has bestowed upon me in all circumstances of my life, I give glory to God. I have never been a supporter of introverted orthodoxy. The mission of the Church is to bear witness to the gospel and to transform the world into Christ, which of course does not happen by remaining indifferent to the gospel or by rejecting it. As a patriarch, I fought for the stability and unity of orthodoxy, for intercultural, interreligious and inter-Christian dialogue, and I took many initiatives for the protection of the natural environment, for peace. and solidarity, for the respect of human rights, the first of which is freedom of religion, always drawing from the inexhaustible source of the Orthodox tradition. And the issue of promoting Christian unity is something that I have always considered central throughout my life.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received UNESCO Special Advisor

On 2 February 2021, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received Mr. Μounir Bouchenaki, Special Advisor to the General Direction of the UNESCO, with whom issues of mutual interest were discussed, including the transformation of Hagia Sophia basilica into a mosque and the similar decision concerning the Monastery of the Savior-in-Chora.

Let us recall that the Ecumenical Patriarch had already received Mr. Bouchenaki in October of last year, and that the patriarch had visited the UNESCO headquarters in Paris seven years ago, where he delivered an address.

Halki Summit IV reflected on COVID-19 and Climate Change

Halki Summit IV met online on 26-28 January 2021 to reflect on COVID-19 and Climate Change. This is the fourth in a series of summits that began in 2012 on the island of Halki. And it is part of a larger program of initiatives by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to raise awareness on climate change and address the need to protect God’s creation. The last event organized by His All-Holiness was held in Athens and on the Saronic Islands in 2018.

This time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate wanted to explore the connections between the pandemic and climate change. The new coronavirus has lowered global carbon emissions. But it has not slowed climate change. At the same time, our response to the pandemic has precipitated the discovery of a vaccine. But it has left the world with a staggering number of deaths.

Much like climate change, the pandemic has permanently affected our planet and altered our lives. The world has wrestled to survive and learned to live with the coronavirus. So we wanted to invite distinguished scientists and economists, theologians and writers, to tell us about the lessons that we have learned. What has been the impact of the pandemic on nature and the environment? What have been the implications for healthcare and the economy? And what have we understood about the relevance and importance of science?

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Episcopal elections by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate convened on 12-14 January 2021 under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Holy Monastery of the Life-bearing Source in Baloukli, Istanbul.

At the proposal of His All-Holiness, the Holy Synod elected His Eminence Metropolitan Polycarpos of Spain and Portugal as the new Metropolitan of Italy, having previously removed from his jurisdiction Malta where a new patriarchal exarchate was created. His Eminence Metropolitan Polycarpos has been educated in Rome and has served for a number of years as priest and protosynkellos of the same diocese.

As the new Metropolitan of Spain and Portugal, the Holy Synod elected the Grand Archimandrite Vissarion Komzias, who will be ordained bishop at the Phanar on 25 January.

Finally, at the suggestion of His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, the Holy Synod elected his auxiliary bishop, His Grace Bishop Athanasios of Tropaios, as metropolitan of Koloneia (in Asia Minor).

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s Interview in “Vima” (Greek Newspaper)

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in “Vima”: “I don’t have the right to take even one step back.”

Ecumenical Patriarch opened his heart and spoke about the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine, the pandemic and its deniers. He declared that he will be vaccinated, doing it as an act of responsibility to his fellow human beings, and urged young people to be in solidarity.

The pandemic, young people, the situation within the Orthodox Churches, the “thorn” of Ukraine, the relations with the Moscow Patriarchate and the completion of 30 years since he ascended to the throne of the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, were the main topics of the landmark interview with historic elaboration given to “Vima tis Kyriakis” by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

In a rare soul-searching interview, foregoing formal archaisms, the First Primate of Orthodoxy characterized the denial of COVID-19 as unacceptable to the victims and their pain. He rejected the provocative attitude of some clergy against the pandemic, emphasizing that according to the New Testament “he who does not love his fellow human being, cannot love God.” He stated that he is deeply impressed by the self-sacrifice of doctors and nurses, and declared his decision to be vaccinated, calling on young people not to be afraid. Continue reading

Greeting of the Ecumenical Patriarch for the Taizé European Meeting of Young Adults

The annual European Meeting of Young Adults organized by the Community of Taizé  took place For the first time, the European Meeting of Young Adults was held in Taizé and throughout the world online. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent the following message:

Dear young people,

The year 2020, which is coming to an end, has brought with it its share of uncertainty, suffering and sadness. At the dawn of 2021, we finally see the shining of a light, fleeting and fragile, a way out of the crisis that we will nevertheless have to wait for with patience. Such crises, especially when they are so global, reveal the fragility of our humanity and our deep dependence on this love of God that never ceases to embrace us, although we may no longer be certain of it.

We greet you very warmly and wish to compliment you for taking the time, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, to take part either in person or virtually in the 43rd European meeting organised by the Community of Taizé in a unique form. We sincerely pray that this message will find you all safe and healthy. May the Lord extend his benevolent hand over our planet and all its inhabitants in order to deliver us as soon as possible from this ordeal. In preparing these few words of greeting and encouragement, we have been invited to be more humble and modest. Each year we have the joy of sending you a message from the Mother Church of Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and we are overwhelmed by the sheer tragic magnitude of what 2020 has been and how future generations will judge these events. Continue reading

Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the memory of its founder, the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. On Monday 30 November 2020, a solemn Divine Liturgy was presided by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in concelebration with their Eminences Metropolitans Theoleptos of Iconium and Metropolitan Maximos of Selyvria in the Patriarchal Church of St. George, at the Phanar. The homily was preached by the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Ioakeim Billis.

The Divine Liturgy was attended by the official delegation of the Church of Rome, headed by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as well as by His Excellency the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mr. Denys Shmyhal, acompanied by members of his cabinet, and a delegation of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed the official delegation of the Roman Catholic Church with these words: Continue reading

The Ecumenical Patriarch prayed for the victims of the Great Famine in Ukraine

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew served a memorial service on 28 November 2020 at the Patriarchal Church at the Phanar for the victims of the Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine on the occasion of the 87th anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in the modern history of the country, during which millions of people died of starvation.

The service was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Imvros and Tenedos, His Grace Bishop Adrianos of Alikarnassos, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Charalampy Nichev who is responsible for the Ukrainian Community, the Consul General of Ukraine in Istanbul Mr. Oleksandr Gaman, as well as officials of the Consulate and members of the Ukrainian Community of Istanbul.

Following the memorial service, His All-Holiness delivered the following homily: Continue reading

In memoriam Patriarch Irinej of Serbia (1930-2020)

On 20 November 2020, His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej of Serbia reposed in the Lord at the age of  90 due to COVID-19. The funeral service was celebrated on 22 November 2020  in the new cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade. The body of Patriarch Irinej was then buried in the crypt of the church that was built especially for the burial of Serbian hierarchs.

Born Miroslav Gavrilović on 28 August 1930, he was the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Serbia  from 22 January 2010 until his death on 20 November 2020, after having been the bishop of Niš between 1975 and 2010.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent the following letter of condolences to the Orthodox Church of Serbia on the passing of His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej: Continue reading

The Primate of Church of Cyprus commemorated the Primate of Church of Ukraine in the diptychs

His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, Primate of Church of Cyprus, has commemorated His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv, Primate of Church of Ukraine, in the diptychs during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on 24 October 2020, which implies the recognition of the tomos of autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 6 January 2019.

On 20 October 2020, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has sent the following letter to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in which he explained his decision: Continue reading