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» 12/21/2010
TURKISH-ORTHODOX
Bartholomew I: we will continue to dialogue with the Pope and Islam
by NAT da Polis
The Ecumenical Patriarch defends the choice of dialogue with Catholics, Jews and Muslims, despite criticisms from some sectors of Orthodox traditionalists. Ecology: "The environment, nature, are God's creation and do not belong only to us who live today in 2010. They belong to all future generations. "

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - On the eve of the holiday season, Bartholomew I delivered a major address before an highly qualified audience from the Orthodox world, defending the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s choice for inter-faith dialogue. "We will insist on dialogue, despite the criticism that we suffer," he said. "There is, unfortunately, a certain religious fundamentalism, a tragic phenomenon, which can be found among Orthodox and Catholics, among Muslims and Jews. These are people who think they alone have the right to exist on earth, almost as if they alone have the right to rule on this our planet according to the Old Testament. And they say there is no room for anyone else, and are therefore opposed to any dialogue. "

The Patriarch continued: "We are subject to criticism and attack because we maintain relations with the Pope (because we are strong supporters of the ecumenical dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics), with Islam and the Jewish world. But we will continue to move forward on our journey, according to the path laid by our predecessors, well aware of our actions, regardless of the criticisms of which we are object. These fringes, characterized by extreme positions, are everywhere. It is therefore natural that we suffer their criticisms, according to their ideological dictates, all of us who try to widen our horizons and have a theological view of things. Because we want the peaceful coexistence of all, based on the principles of charity and friendship. "

Bartholomew I added: "This is the credo of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and I want to remember that in 1920 the regent of the patriarchal see, along with the synod, had addressed to Catholics and Protestants an encyclical, called 'The community of churches', along the lines of the newly created 'society of nations'. That encyclical is considered today by the World Council of Churches as the 'Charter' of the ecumenical movement of our time. This is a well known fact to insiders, and it is good that it should be made as widely known to as many people as possible”.

Then Bartholomew I went on to highlight: "With regard to interreligious dialogue, it is our belief and our creed. Because we need to know each other better, to work together while respecting the religious beliefs of others, their cultural identity, without oppression. This is the only way to live in peace. For this reason, the Patriarchate, in addition to having a dialogue with other Churches and Christian denominations, has established over the past 25 years a dialogue with Islam and Judaism. We have had several successful meetings. With the Muslims and Jews, our brothers, we do not discuss purely theological issues as it would be difficult. But we talk about social issues, social issues that effect all people, all humanity, all over the world. "

Ecology has been one of the favorite themes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1989. The Patriarch said: "Everything that we try to do, we do because we believe it is our duty, because the Church should be actively present in the contemporary world and be sensitive to people's problems, raise awareness and encourage them to love and protect nature like their own homes".  He added: "The environment, nature, is God's creation and do not belong only to us who live today in 2010. They belong to all future generations. "

Bishop,Dositheos spokesman for the Patriarchate, commented on the Patriarch’s homily for AsiaNews, "a certain confusion prevails in some sectors of the Orthodox Christian world between the two terms, tradition and traditionalism. Tradition, to which those minorities often refer, is the ongoing search to interpret and understand the truth, while traditionalism which essentially belong to these minorities, is an intellectual sterility which often is identified with nationalism in the Orthodox world”.


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See also
03/12/2009 TURKEY
Journey begins toward convening of grand pan-Orthodox synod
by NAT da Polis
10/11/2008 TURKEY
Bartholomew I: Orthodox summit for "the unity of the Church"
by NAT da Polis
09/03/2007 TURKEY
Patriarch Bartholomew I optimistic about Abdullah Gül and AKP’s victory
05/19/2008 TURKEY - ORTHODOX
Bartholomew I on science and protection of the environment
by NAT da Polis
03/06/2008 VATICAN – ORTHODOX
Orthodox and Catholics together to respond to the world’s challenges, says Bartholomew I
by NAT da Polis

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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