11/21/2017, 11.14
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Inter-Orthodox gathering: Mission in today’s world in the sign of Saint Andrew

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Orthodox representatives of Greece, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, along with guests from non-orthodox countries such as the United States and Italy, participated in Patras (Greece), the site of apostolic martyrdom. Remembering the Christian martyrs of today and those who are dying spiritually, oppressed "by postmodernist morality". Banks "High Temples of Practical Secularism". The relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov. A Memorandum of Commitments of the Faithful.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - November 17-18 an important inter-orthodox conference on The Voice of the Apostle Andrew the ‘Protoclito’ in the contemporary world was held in Patras, a town in southern Greece that preserves the memory of the martyrdom of the Apostle Andrew "The First Called”. Organized by the St. Andrew Foundation, a Russian organization active since 1992 to spread the memory of the great traditions of Orthodoxy, the conference was attended by representatives of Greece, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, together with guests from different non-Orthodox countries, such as USA and Italy.

The purpose of the conference was to "recognize the unifying principle of devotion to St. Andrew Protoclito, and to constitute the first step of a path of consolidation of social forces in the Eastern Christian world.” Starting from the unity of spirituality and doctrine, the orthodox world needs a grand design,  intellectual and creative effort to strengthen its positions internationally and to be able to influence civil society more effectively by presenting responses to contemporary challenges. According to conference participants, this effort must unite the activities of clergy and lay people, parish communities and public associations, as well as of the legislative and governmental political authorities.

Vladimir Jakunin, President of the S. Andrew Foundation, recalled that persecution of Christians and Orthodox in the world is far from over, indeed, it is even more violent today than at the time of the Roman Empire or under  Soviet Communism. Every five minutes a Christian is killed in the world, more than 300 per day, over 100,000 every year. And what’s more, according to Jakunin, people are spiritually dying oppressed by postmodernist morality. Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Sklifas) of Patras, in turn, recalled that banks and financial funds churches are now being transformed into against which the Church should fight, as the highest temples of practical secularism.

The conference opened with a symbolic act of great spiritual value: a relic of St. Seraphim of Sarov, the great Russian nineteenth century Starets was solemnly received in Patras, brought directly from the monastery of Diveevo where his remains are kept, with the blessing of the Russian Patriarch Kirill (Gundjaev). Along with the bishops and representatives of the various Churches, the conference has therefore mystically participated in one of the modern fathers of the Orthodox Church, whose memory is also widespread in the Western world.

A Memorandum of Commitments

At the end of the meeting, the participants approved a Memorandum of Commitment to be undertaken by all Orthodox and men  of goodwill:

1. Reaffirm the soteriological exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Orthodox Church as the guardian of divine Truth and Grace, also reiterating the commitment of all Orthodox to continue the mission of the Apostle Andrew and to illustrate his importance in the contemporary world .

2. The spiritual and dogmatic union of Orthodox people must help the active edification and strengthening of religious and social virtues: solidarity, mercy, religious freedom, charity and social justice in contemporary Europe and in global society.

3. Contemporary idols of human pride, the substitution of religious values ​​with material ones, and also an atheistic knowledge based on the eradication of faith that lead to the post-modernist crisis of our society and the disappearance of public morality are unacceptable.

4. Human rights, the rule of law, elements of contemporary culture have a great meaning, but their development must be realized on the basis of Christian values.

5. Freedom is a supreme value: it must presuppose not only rights but also duties, including that of sacrifice in the image of Christ.

6. Individualism, secularization, and amoral technocratic modernization are negative aspects of the evolution of our social space in which orthodox spirituality plays a healing role for people and society as a whole, in order to free man from passions and bring him closer to God.

Representatives of Orthodox Churches appeal to all the members of society in the orthodox world for their collaboration in the achievement of the stated aims, including love for their homeland, respect for older generations and child care, defense of the family and life, education of young people and the defense of persecuted Christians. The next conference will be dedicated to the family, at a date and place to be confirmed. The commitment is that the announcement of Apostle Andrew: "We have found the Messiah!" (Jn 1,41), resonate throughout the entire world.

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