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    » 01/29/2008, 00.00


    Divided in Ravenna, Russian and Estonian Orthodox to talk

    Bartholomew I is promoting a meeting between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Church of Estonia. Last October the Russians quit the Ravenna meeting because of the presence of Estonian representatives. In concluding the prayer for Christian unity, the ecumenical patriarch expressed his desire to see the process of unification speed up, stressing how ‘historical’ was the joint declaration made by Catholics and Orthodox in Ravenna. He also talks about spreading the Gospel in Hong Kong.

    Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the Estonian Apostolic Church should meet after their differences a few months ago almost scuttled the Ravenna meeting between Catholics and Orthodox when the Russians left the Italian city that hosted the ecumenical talks. The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople has in fact invited the two Churches to a meeting next month in a yet-to-be determined location to smooth over the dispute caused by the 1996 decision of the Church of Estonia to break from Moscow. The reason is that divisions are unseemly for an Orthodox world so richly endowed in traditions.

    The ecumenical patriarch will be represented by the Metropolitan of Pergamon, Ioannis Zizioulas, whilst the Church of Estonia will send the metropolitan of Tallinn. Moscow has yet to respond to the invitation and it is still possible that it may reject it.

    Promoting a meeting between the two Orthodox Churches was the last event in a week that ended in a series of prayers for Christian unity. On this occasion a Turkish prime minister, Recep Erdoğan, spoke for the first time about the ecumenical role played by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Later his words were also echoed by his foreign minister, Ali Babacan, who observed that ancient taboos must be overcome.

    The evocative celebration of Byzantine Vespers in Saint George’s Church, in the Fanar, seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, marked the conclusion of the prayer for Christian unity.

    Representatives from all Christian confessions present in Istanbul stood side by side with the ecumenical patriarch as did many young people from abroad.

    Indeed it was no accident that it all took place before the relics of Saint John Chrysostom, which Pope John Paul II returned in 2004, a sign that Christian unity is a duty.

    In his brief but telling homily Patriarch Bartholomew said that prayer was necessary but so were working hard and early.

    He explained that the Fanar, in co-ordination with other Churches, is a member of many organisations that promote dialogue geared towards Christian unity in order that full communion may be speedily achieved.

    Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, secretary of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, outlined the history of the dialogue between Christians, stressing the historical significance of the joint statement made in Ravenna by Catholics and Orthodox.

    The speech Bartholomew made before the new bishop of Hong Kong Nektarios received his crucifix was also significant. In it he stressed the importance of Christian witness in the lands of the East.

    He noted that for the Ecumenical Patriarchate it is very important to propose the message of Our Lord to those who want to meet the real God and feel that eastern religions—even though they might possess some seeds of truth—are still far from satisfying the search for the true witness of the truth.

    “We cannot disappoint them,” said Bartholomew. “Ignorance, suspicions, cultural and political prejudices, intolerance, the legacy of the past and some errors we Christians made give rise to hard-to-solve situations, creating less than friendly attitudes towards Christian missionaries. This is why, as members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we must make sacrifices for one’s fellow man as did Saint Paul whose birth 2,000 years ago we celebrate this year.” (NT)

    PHOTO: N. Manginas

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    See also

    24/06/2008 TURKEY
    Moscow patriarchate abandons work for preparation of pan-Orthodox synod
    Withdrawal motivated by the presence of the Estonian Church. Strong ecumenical characterisation around the awarding of the Klauss Hemerle prize to Bartholomew, around whom calls for a Nobel nomination are intensifying.

    19/10/2007 TURKEY
    Progress in dialogue with Catholics, says Ecumenical Patriarchate
    Metropolitan Ioannis, co-chairman of the joint commission, talks to AsiaNews about the importance of the discussion with regard to the Pope’s role in the Church. The row caused by the Moscow Patriarchate is an “expression of authoritarianism” so that the Russians are isolated once again.

    30/11/2010 TURKEY
    The Turkish government now recognises us officially, says Bartholomew I
    Coming on the eve of the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the return of the Buyukada orphanage is extremely significant for Orthodox Christians and marks an important moment for Turkish Christians. A Vatican delegation led by Card Kurt Koch attends the celebrations.

    01/12/2006 VATICAN – TURKEY
    Pope back from Turkey pleased with progress in dialogue
    The prayer in the Blue Mosque shows respect for Islam and should improve the situation of Christians living in Muslim countries. Reactions in the ecumenical Patriarchate to the visit are positive in terms of long-term ecumenism.

    11/02/2013 TURKEY - VATICAN
    Ecumenical patriarch expresses sadness over pope's resignation, gratitude towards Benedict XVI's witness
    Bartholomew I highlights Pope Ratzinger's important theological and patristic culture as well as his modernity. His contribution to ecumenism with Orthodox was fundamental. Patriarch prays for a worthy successor.

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