August 21, 2014

Benedict to Bartholomew: Called to ‘One Hope’

The Zenit news agency published the translation of Pope Benedict XVI's address to the delegation the Ecumenical Patriarchate sent to the Vatican for the celebration of "the solemnity" of Sts. Peter and Paul and the conclusion of the Pauline Year. The patriarchate's delegation was led by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the Office of the Orthodox Church Before the European Union. The other members include Bishop Anthenagoras of Sinope, auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Belgium, and Deacon Ioakim Billis of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Pope Benedict: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Epehesians 1:2). Venerable Brothers, It is with these words that St. Paul, "apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God," addresses "the saints" who live in Ephesus, "believers in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:1). Today, with this proclamation of peace and salvation, I bid you welcome for the patronal feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, … [Read more...]

‘On a Summoning of the Great Council’

In response to the "First Pre-Conciliar Conference" held in Chambesy, Switzerland (near Geneva) in November 1976, Archimandrite Dr. Justin Popovic composed "On A Summoning of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church." In this, Fr. Popovic (1894-1979), spiritual father of the monastery of Celie Valjevo (Serbia), expressed his "grievous considerations for the future council." The Orthodox Christian Information Center has the complete text here. This letter is "dated" in that, written more than 30 years ago, it could not foresee the fall of communism and the revival of the Russian Church, nor anticipate the expansion of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to include members from outside of Turkey. And it is always risky to draw close analogies from one historical moment to the present. But some of the language in the letter reads as if it could have been written yesterday. Here are some selections in which Fr. Popvich gives some thoughts on the "diaspora" and the … [Read more...]

All-Orthodox ‘Pre-Conciliar Consultation’ Set for Chambesy in June

From Interfax: Moscow, May 26 – The 4th all-Orthodox pre-conciliar consultation is to be held in the Constantinople Patriarchate Orthodox center in Chambésy on June 6-13, 2009. “Participants will touch upon the topic of organizing Orthodox diaspora (Orthodox believers living out of borders of any local Orthodox church),” Acting Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Priest Igor Yakimchuk has told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday. He noted that several centuries had passed after the last seventh Ecumenical Council and “there are a lot of questions that need all-church solution for the sake of strengthening unity and avoiding schisms in one Orthodox Church.” “To settle these questions it is planned to hold the Holy and Great Council of the Eastern Orthodox Church in foreseeable future,” the priest said. It was decided to get ready for the Great Council by way of convening all-Orthodox pre-council consultations and inter-Orthodox … [Read more...]

A Brief Roundup

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Odds and ends: Patriarchal meetings; accusations of Uniatism; clerical sauna baths. What's it all about? President Victor Yuschenko of Ukraine met with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Patriarchal Residence in Tarabya, as part of the President's working visit to Turkey. The Archons site reports that "a cordial and whole-hearted discussion on issues of common concern" took place on May 20. Discussions were held on a representative office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate opening in Ukraine in the format of a churchyard or a cultural and informational center. The two leaders also addressed ways to step up contacts between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. President Yuschenko said he wants this dialogue to be intensified at all levels and confirmed his country's interest in establishing a local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. His Excellency also said he is convinced that "the Ecumenical Church and the personal wisdom and efforts of the Ecumenical … [Read more...]

St. Vladimir’s Summer Conference: The Council and the Tomos

St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary has announced the topic for its summer institute and a very interesting lineup of speakers. The full announcement is available on the OCA site here. HT: orrologion CRESTWOOD, NY [SVS/May 13, 2009] -- Recent exchanges of views about Orthodoxy in America, the role of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the forthcoming pan-Orthodox sessions that will deliberate on the "diaspora," emphasize how vital it is to reflect upon events that shaped the current landscape. As a foundational part of its mission, Saint Vladimir's Seminary is a venue where controversial topics can be discussed openly and freely. The seminary will host a summer conference titled, "The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church," June 18-20, 2009. Conference speakers will focus on two watersheds that have shaped the Orthodox Church in America (OCA): the All-Russian Council (Sobor) of 1917-1918, and the Tomos of … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill to visit Ecumenical Patriarchate in July

The ANA-MPA news service is reporting that "the new Patriarch of Moscow, Kyrill will be on a formal visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at Phanar on July 4-6. Patriarch Kyrill and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will co-officiate in a mass, while the visiting Patriarch is expected to follow the example of his predecessor and visit Aghia Sophia." Here's a good backgrounder on the tensions that have existed between Moscow and Constantinople for years. The report in AsiaNews was a "table setter" for the Pan-Orthodox Synaxis held in October at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From the article: The dispute between Moscow and Constantinople has been going on for some time: first in Rhodes (Greece) in 2007, when Moscow announced it would not take part in the pan-Orthodox Synod in 2008; then in Ravenna when Moscow’s representatives walked out of a conference because they objected to the presence of the Estonian Orthodox Church which Moscow does not … [Read more...]

Bishop Hilarion: Ecumenical Patriarchate seeks to impose Roman Catholic model of primacy

From Interfax: Moscow Patriarchate disagrees with Constantinople desire to play special role in Orthodoxy MOSCOW (April 10) -- Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's external church relations department, has criticized the Constantinople Patriarchate's intention to control all church communities within the Orthodox diaspora. "I see the situation in the inter-Orthodox relations surrounding the Constantinople Patriarchate's claim to have some special role in the Orthodox Church as one of the key challenges today," Bishop Hilarion said at a press conference at the Interfax main office in Moscow on Friday. "What is happening is in fact an attempt to impose a model existing in the Catholic Church on the Orthodox Church to have as centralized church power as possible, with one bishop leading it as the head of the Ecumenical Church," he said. "There has never been such a model in the Orthodox tradition," Bishop Hilarion said. He … [Read more...]

A Conversation With Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

St. Vladimir's Seminary recently held a symposium on the state of ecumenical relations between the different Christian communions throughout the world. In attendance was Bp. Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna, a man highly respected at AOI because of his bold and clear testimony to Christ in Europe (see some of his writings on OrthodoxyToday.org). Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir's Seminary, sat down with Bp. Hilarion for a frank discussion on ecumenical relations between Orthodoxy and other Christian communions, as well as tensions between Moscow and Constantinople about the direction some of these discussions are taking. A Conversation With Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, sharpened his focus on bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to America during the conference as well. Listen to him explain how the Orthodox lack in their knowledge of scripture and why a recovery of scripture is sorely needed. Holy Scripture and the Evangelization of … [Read more...]

Bp. Hilarion: Russian Orthodox Must Stay in WCC

Moscow, June 30, Interfax - Withdrawal of the Russian Orthodox Church from the World Council of Churches should weaken positions of Moscow Patriarchate in the inter-Orthodox dialogue, the representative of Russian Church in European international organizations believes. "This withdrawal may only weaken our positions today in defending the Church teaching which we consider traditional, which for many centuries was the basis of relations among the Orthodox Churches, and which is now challenged by the Patriarchate of Constantinople," Bishop Hilarion said Monday to Interfax-Religion. He also mentioned that the last Bishops' Council discussed "the claims of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the jurisdiction of the whole diaspora" and the Patriarch of Constantinople's seeking to receive the position "which is somewhat equal to that of Pope in the Catholic Church." "Today, the Russian Orthodox Church is the major opponent of Constantinople, therefore, the Patriarchate of … [Read more...]