July 23, 2014

Moscow thanks Pope for not pressing on meeting

From Interfax (2009-12-16): Moscow -- The Moscow Patriarchate is grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for understanding problems between the two Churches and not pressing on with visiting Russia and meeting with the Patriarch. "Pope Benedict XVI perfectly understands the existing difficulties and therefore is not pressing on his meeting with the Patriarch, not to mention visiting Russia, as was done under his predecessor. We are grateful to him for this," the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview published in Der Spiegel, whose Russian translation the Department for External Church Relations has published on its website. The Russian Orthodox Church does not rule out the possibility of a meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Pope, but believes that it should be preceded by the resolution of the problems between them rather than be turned into "just a protocol meeting and … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew greets Vatican delegation at the Phanar

Pat. Bartholomew and Card. Kasper

From the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle: Istanbul, Turkey 11/30/2009 His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed a Vatican delegation representing Pope Benedict XVI at the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on November 30, 2009. The delegation, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper also delivered greetings to His All Holiness on behalf of Pope Benedict. The Ecumenical Patriarch's greeting on the feast of St. Andrew the First Called follows: Your Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, representative of His Holiness the Pope and Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI, and your honorable entourage, It is with great joy that we welcome you once again to the courtyard of the Church of New Rome in order to concelebrate the sacred memory of its founder and protector Saint Andrew the First-Called of the Apostles. We express our heartfelt gratitude to our beloved brother in the Lord, His Holiness Pope Benedict of Old Rome, who deigned to delegate his representatives to the … [Read more...]

Benedict to Bartholomew: Unity through truth and charity, not power

Pope Benedict and Pat. Bartholomew

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received a message today from Pope Benedict XVI at the Phanar on the occasion of the Feastday of St. Andrew the Apostle. The pope's message was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George. From AsiaNews.it: Following an old tradition dating back to Pope Paul VI, the two Churches send delegations to celebrate their respective patron saints, an Orthodox delegation coming to Rome on the Feast Day of SS Peter and Paul (29 June), and a Vatican delegation travelling to the Phanar for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew (30 November). Led by Card Walter Kasper, the Vatican delegation took part in the Divine Liturgy celebrated this morning in the Phanar by Bartholomew. At the end Cardinal Kasper, who chairs the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, handed the patriarch the papal message. The theological dialogue … [Read more...]

Catholic-Orthodox meeting on Cyprus wraps up

See you next year in Vienna: According to a statement released by the dialogue commission Oct. 23, the commission's Orthodox members discussed "the negative reactions to the dialogue by certain Orthodox circles and unanimously considered them as totally unfounded and unacceptable, providing false and misleading information." The Orthodox delegates "reaffirmed that the dialogue continues with the decision of all the Orthodox churches and is pursued with faithfulness to the truth and the tradition of the church," said the statement released in Cyprus and at the Vatican. At the Catholic Mass Oct. 17, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and head of the Catholic delegation, "stressed that the spirit of humility and love should prevail in the work" of the commission. Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, host of the meeting, presided over the Orthodox Divine Liturgy Oct. 18. He said all the Orthodox churches are committed … [Read more...]

Report: Anglicans and OCA to work for unity

Update: (10/11) Ancient Faith Radio has the audio from, “In the Footsteps of Tikhon and Grafton - Anglican and Orthodox Identity, Ministry and Mission in the 21th Century,” the Anglican-Orthodox Conference featuring discussions and addresses by representatives of St. Vladimir's Seminary and Nashotah House. Listen here. The History of Anglican/Orthodox Relations Fr. Stephen Platt moderated and the speakers were Fr. Chad Hatfield and Fr. Arnold Klukas. Anglican/Orthodox Enculturation Mrs. Glynn Mackoul moderated and the speakers were Fr. William Olnhausen and Fr. Jack Gabig. Bishops and Mission Fr. Chad Hatfield moderated and the speakers were Bishop Melchizedek and Bishop Frank Lyons. Anglican/Orthodox Theological Training Fr. Arnold Klukas moderated and the speakers were Fr. Chad Hatfield and Dean Munday The Future of Anglican and Orthodox Relations Both Deans moderated and the speakers were Archbishop William Duncan and Metropolitan … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Unity in God’s Time

From "Unity as Calling, Conversion and Mission," the opening address of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Plenary of the World Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Order event, "Called to be One Church" (Crete, Greece, October 7, 2009): We should not be frustrated by our human limitations, which unfortunately determine our disagreements and divisions. Our ongoing and persistent pursuit of unity is a testimony to the fact that what we seek will occur in God’s time and not our own; it is, by the same token, the fruit of heavenly grace and divine kairos. [ ... ] ... genuine humility demands from all of us a sense of openness to the past and the future; in other words, much like the ancient god Janus, we are called to manifest respect for the time-tested ways of the past and regard for the heavenly city that we seek (cf. Heb. 13.14). This “turning” toward the past and the future is surely part and parcel of conversion. [ ... ] ... it is … [Read more...]

Archbishop Hilarion makes appeal for Christian unity

From Interfax: Moscow, September 21 -- Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is visiting Rome, has celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Catacombs of St. Callixtus. Speaking to believers after the service, the Archbishop urged to overcome a thousand-year-old dispute between Christians of East and West and reminded about heroism of first Christians who prayed in catacombs and preserved unity in spite of persecutions from outside. “Denied by the world, far from human eyes, deep under ground in caves, first Roman Christians performed the feat of prayer. Their life brought fruit of holiness and martyr heroism. The Holy Church was built on their blood shed for Christ,” the DECR press service has cited Archbishop Hilarion as saying. Then Church came out of the catacombs, but Christian unity was lost, the Archbishop further said. Today, when the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church don’t have … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Gerasimos on Christian Unity

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco recently posted the keynote speech that Metropolitan Gerasimos delivered in April for the National Workshop on Christian Unity in Phoenix. It is a lengthy speech so we will post only a few excerpts here. Metropolitan Gerasimos: Our task as Christians is to keep the Body of Christ united and where we find division, we must become agents of healing and reconciliation. Dialogue in all its manifestations - bilateral, multilateral and other exchanges - is still the most critical pathway to reconciliation. Christians have been explaining their doctrine and theology to one another since the beginning of the Church, in order to maintain the integrity of the Body of Christ and to restore unity when divisions occurred. We can find examples of this from the earliest days of Christianity. The language of orthodoxy and heresy, lapsed and restored all emerged from the continual efforts of Church leaders - in those days usually the bishops - to … [Read more...]

Ligonier 1994: ‘A New Era Has Begun’

Watch and listen as American Orthodox metropolitans and bishops make a case for administrative unity -- 15 years ago. The Ligonier Meeting was a gathering of twenty-eight or twenty-nine Orthodox Christian hierarchs in North America, specifically those affiliated with SCOBA, held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 1994, at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pa. In Part 3, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios says: "There's no question that we all want to be one administratively, and share not only a theological union that we have ... but we want to be united administratively. I like to think it can be done soon. I'm not saying in a month or two or three or a year. But I hope that it doesn't take 50 years to accomplish. It will certainly take some time." Antiochian Metropolitan Philip issues an appeal to the Mother Churches to include the American churches in "overseas" Pan-Orthodox synods. "We pray that the mother churches will realize soon that we are no longer little children and that the … [Read more...]

Unity in Christ

From "Catholic Consciousness: The Anthropological Implications of the Dogma of the Church" by Vladimir Lossky. English translation (from the French original) in St. Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly, Volume 14, No. 4, 1970. No differences of created nature -- sex, race, social status, language, or culture -- can affect the unity of the Church; no divisive reality can enter into the bosom of the Catholica. Therefore one should consider that the expression "national Church" -- which is so often used in our day -- is erroneous and even heretical, according to the definitions condemning phyletism that were pronounced by the Council of Constantinople in 1872. There is no Church of the Jews or of the Greeks, of the Barbarians or the Scythians, just as there is no Church of slaves or of free men, of male or of female. There is only the unique and total Christ, the celestial Head of the new creation which is being realized here; the Head to which the members of the one Body are … [Read more...]

SCOBA’s Fr. Arey on Chambesy

On the Orthodox Christian Network, Fr. Mark Arey, the General Secretary of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), discusses the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference that met in Chambésy, Switzerland, in June, in an interview with Fr. Chris Metropulos. "If we're serious, really serious about Orthodox unity, well my friends, we have to do the hard work and put it together," says Fr. Arey. "You can't just snap your fingers and everybody says each bishop can have his own title and then we're done." Fr. Arey talks about SCOBA's future, in light of the move toward a new episcopal assembly, and how that would affect current governance of American Orthodoxy. "It's easy to talk about Orthodox unity when you don't have to actually do it," Fr. Arey says. Listen: From the Chambesy announcement on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Web site: Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Calls on Roman Catholics to Join Ecumenical Group

Quote from the story: Bartholomeos warned that the failure of churches in Europe to match their statements about unity with specific actions calls into question their credibility. The Charta Oecumenica (cited below) makes a case for Christian unity. Did its authors have the American Orthodox in mind, as well? Probably not. Sample: Various forms of ecumenical co-operation have already proved themselves. Christ's prayer is: "...that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21). If we are to be faithful to this prayer, we cannot be content with the present situation. Instead, aware of our guilt and ready to repent, we must strive to overcome the divisions still existing among us, so that together we may credibly proclaim the message of the Gospel among all people. Article follows: Lyon, France (Ecumenical News International) -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos … [Read more...]