Orthodox Hierarchs Gather for Unity Conference

No, not that kind.

The Conference of European Churches, an ecumenical organization, is preparing for an assembly in Lyon, France, July 15-21. The theme for the gathering is “Called to One Hope in Christ,” and attending, the CEC says, are Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop Anastasios of the Orthodox Church of Albania (also delivering the opening sermon), and Patriarch Daniel from the Romanian Orthodox Church.

According to the CEC press office, “each Assembly day will have a different focus: – Thursday 16 will be the “Hope” day, with reflections on the Assembly theme; – Friday 17 July will be the “Vision” day, looking forward to the future of the ecumenical movement in Europe,” etc.

Zeibekiko? No, ecumenical dancing at CEC

Hasapiko? No, ecumenical dancing at CEC

The Russian Orthodox Church suspended its membership in the CEC late last year over a dispute involving the status of the Estonian Orthodox Church. I can’t find any indication that they’re back in. Given the statements of warming relations between Moscow and Constantinople recently, we may see less of these sorts of squabbles:

… during the recent CEC Central Committee meeting, the CEC President, Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, with the support of the Patriarchate of Constantinople representatives made repeated attempts to defer discussion on the CEC membership application from the Estonian Orthodox Church. It was argued that the status of Orthodox jurisdictions in Estonia was not settled between the Patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople. This issue however does not have anything to do with discussion on the Estonian Orthodox Church’s application for CEC membership since the only criteria for refusal to admit a Church is her failure to conform to the membership criteria. The desire to reach consensus among all the CEC member churches was given as another reason for deferring the consideration. However, this demand for consensus was not set forth in considering the EAOC’s application and the Russian Orthodox delegation had to abstain in the vote because the EAOC leaders had ventured upon unfriendly statements and actions against the Estonian Orthodox Church.

More than two dozen church members, clergy and laity, gathered in Ierapetra, on the island of Crete, for the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Consultation for the XIII Assembly of CEC (April 27-30). The Russians did not attend. The document that came out of this meeting, “The Orthodox on the way to Lyon — Called to One Hope in Christ” included this statement:

… all Christians are called to the One Hope in Christ as the way of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. As Europe today experiences a deep crisis of Faith and passes through the “desert of secularization”, the duty of European Christian Churches in the light of Christ’s hope is to engage in a deep dialogue and closer cooperation among themselves and with all peoples of this continent.

Yes, indeed.


  1. Kumbaya.

    Don’t mean to be cynical, but . . . good luck with that.
    The CEC, WCC, etc., tend to be comprised of folks who value everything but conviction. In the potentially hostile world that tomorrow’s secular Europe (or islamist Eurabia) may become, there will be increasing demographic and political pressure demanding collaboration; think of it as Islamic-“inclusive” ecumenism – a variant on today’s secularist-“inclusive” ecumenism. In such an environment, only conviction will be able to withstand such forces or pay the price of integrity; whether “red” or “white,” it may require martyrdom either way.

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