02/04/2009, 00.00
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Bartholomew I: may Kirill's election foster common journey of Orthodox Churches

by NAT da Polis
The Ecumenical Patriarchate now expects an acceleration in the common journey toward the long-awaited grand pan-Orthodox synod.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - On the occasion of the installation of Kirill as the new patriarch of Moscow, ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I has sent him a message focused on the common journey of the Orthodox Churches, in facing the challenges of today's world.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has rejoiced over the election of Kirill, says the message read today by the envoy from Bartholomew I, and participates with great joy in the celebrations for his installation. The vision of the Mother Church for the common journey, continues the message, is accompanied by good hope and good will, because an active and creative man has been elected at this historical juncture. A man of proven ecclesial merit, characterized by wisdom and by his contribution to Christian unity.

The see of Constantinople has many expectations, focused above all on unity, harmony, and the common journey toward the long-awaited convocation of the grand pan-Orthodox synod, preparations for which must be accelerated for the purpose of preserving the credibility of the Orthodox Church. The collaboration among the Orthodox must be promoted also because this is useful both for dialogue with the other Christian confessions, and for a peaceful solution of disagreements and other issues that have arisen over time. But also because it is only in this way that a response can be made to the socioeconomic problems afflicting the contemporary world, and also the questions of bioethics. In this regard, according to information obtained by AsiaNews, Constantinople intends to open an international observatory at the orphanage building in Buyukada.

So it is both right and helpful, the message continues, to recognize and remember the lessons of history, and defend its truths. This is especially true today, in that we are passing through a rather difficult period. A period in which an attempt is being made to distort history, and wipe out values. At a time in which one is witnessing a futile race for temporal power, it is right to remember the contribution that the Church has made to forming human society in its journey toward God, and to enhance the fraternal and indivisible bond among the Churches.

Finally, it has not gone unnoticed that Kirill's installation ceremony was characterized by two symbolic actions: the exclamation of the Greek word Axios (Worthy), according to the ancient Byzantine ritual, and the conferral of the pastoral staff given in the 14th century by ecumenical patriarch Athanasios to the bishop of Moscow, Peter. Moscow was raised to the status of patriarchate in 1589 by ecumenical patriarch Jeremias, who has gone down in history in part because he was against the schism between the Lutherans and Rome. One of his memorable statements was: "No more schisms among Christians."

PHOTO: Nikolaos Manginas

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