Bartholomew is Seeking to Reinvigorate Dialogue With Roman Catholics

AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)French President Francois Hollande, right, meets Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, left, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012.

AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)
French President Francois Hollande, right, meets Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, left, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012.

Source: The National Herald

by Theodore Kalmoukos

CONSTANTINOPLE – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is attempting to inaugurate a new path and new dynamics of rapprochement and reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church in conjunction with the Theological Dialogue working towards the Eucharistic Union of the Churches.

In his speech to the Delegation of the Church of Rome headed by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the feast day of St. Andrew the First Called Apostle, on the patriarch said on November 30 that “the uniqueness of the founders of our Churches, of Elder Rome and of New Rome, the Holy Apostles Peter and Andrew, as brothers according to the flesh, constitutes a motivation for both of our Churches to move toward the genuine experience of spiritual brotherhood and the restoration of communion in this same spirit, in truth and in love.”

The patriarch went on saying that “unfortunately, throughout the course of the centuries, this brotherhood has been deeply wounded and as a result, the spiritual unity of our Churches has been disrupted.

For centuries, theologians, as well as personalities in both Churches, spent their energy not in the context of dialogue, but rather in promoting and supporting their own positions, not taking into consideration that of St. John Chrysostom, “Thou hast spoken once, perhaps, and he hath not heard. Speak therefore twice, and thrice, and as often as it may be, till thou hast persuaded him. Every day God is addressing us, and we do not hear; and yet He does not leave off speaking.”

Bartholomew desires to make a new beginning that it why he proposed that “it is already empirically evident that the conviction has matured in the hearts of both sides, namely that, from this point on the course of our efforts must be reversed. That is to say, we must expend our spiritual energy not in the effort of finding justifications for the strengthening of positions, which we overly defended in the past towards the justification of the schism, but in sincerely endeavoring to find arguments that verify the error of divisive inclinations and that, even more, seek out ways of approaching full restoration of the unity of the Churches.”

The patriarch believes that “the best method for investigating this matter is the continuation and cultivation of inter-ecclesiastical dialogues and relations, as well as especial cultivation of the outcome of the dialogue of love into a substantial and theological dialogue between both of our Churches, Orthodox and Roman Catholic. The personal acquaintance of the members and especially of the representatives of the Churches often leads to the discovery that the people involved are of good will, and that a deeper understanding of the events that provoked the schism based upon objectivity will suffice to dissipate fears, suspicions, distrust, and conflicts of the past.”

Bartholomew urges “reinforcing with as much strength as we have this Dialogue of Truth, so that by means of the frequent and wide-ranging discussions, we may raise the level of knowledge and facilitate mutual understanding, thus directing ourselves toward ‘all truth’ (see John 16:13), which always and above all conquers. The mature fruit of this knowledge is the progressive agreement upon particular points, an agreement, which on the tally of disagreements and agreements will continuously increase the sum of the agreements until all disagreements are eclipsed. On that day, we will all, united in faith and love, jointly glorify our Savior Christ, Who will have led us through fire and water to refreshment.”

The Patriarch invited the Bishop of Rome Benedict XVI to work and walk together. He said “both of us, our brother the Pope of Rome and our Modesty, along with our Churches, and all our spiritual leaders, ought to show, by our example, to the rulers of the world’s resources, that they need to remember compassion and love toward those in need, because otherwise social cohesion is at risk, which, if disturbed, will bring enormous destruction to both the just and unjust.”

Bartholomew reminded Pope Benedict that “the current year is passing. With terrifying and negative predictions for the developments of human affairs on a global sphere.”

The patriarch revealed that “our Holy Orthodox Church finds itself in the delightful position of announcing that the preparation of its Holy and Great Synod has almost been completed, that it is in its final stages and will be convoked in the near future. It will pronounce upon the issue, among others, of the dialogues of Orthodoxy with the other Churches and it will take the fitting decisions in unity and authenticity so that we may progress toward the ‘unity of faith’ in the communion of the Holy Spirit in the surety that ‘To lovers of the truth nothing can be put before God and hope in Him’ (Basil the Great, To Eustathius the Physician, Letter 151, PG 32.608B; NPNF2-8:604).”

Comments

  1. the orthodox church heads cannot agree on what is Canonical…{..$$$..} how could it ever happen with the romans..!!

  2. As Pope Benedict has often said: true, final communion among Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church will come about only as a grace and gift of the Holy Spirit. I am reminded in this context of the Christmas hymn in which we hear, “…let all contention cease…” Where there is a will there is a way. Centuries old resentments, cultivated under the cover of piety and/or acerbic apologetics, advance communion not at all. Benedict and Bartholomew are living witnesses of ecumenism done at its best: two saints, living their calling in different but complementary ways, giving us an example and lighting our way. Love alone is credible, as Balthasar says. Prayer is the key to Orthodoxy, love the key to prayer, love the gift of the Holy Spirit. I pray the Triune God blesses the world with the hypostatic re-union of the Churches – undivided but unmixed, inseparable but never confused. This alone will do justice to God’s Chalcedonian plan for us from all eternity.

  3. It is currently January 4, 2013. The so-called Christian church has made a mockery of the name of Jesus the Christ, Orthodoxy as a rule will not accept a western concept, Rome and the East dispute, the so-called reformation of the church only caused more problems. Many people do not believe in a god or in the Almighty God and His Only Begotten Son because the Christian church not only preaches many different versions of the Christ but in the world of Orthodoxy and Roman who both make the claim of being successors to the Apostles, they do not get along.

    The church, whether you want to hear it or not is going to answer for all of this. Get rid of the politics, get rid of the one head of all of Christendom which is nothing more than lust for glory and power. Get rid of these things and begin to teach the world as the Christ commanded or suffer the concequences. All of the church attacks the independent orthodox groups as non-canonical and therefore non orthodox, yet you will not get rid of politics and get down to worshipping and teaching as one church, the independents will never go away as long as the so called real orthodox and Catholics continue to act as they do.

    You alone are at fault and you alone bear the shame, you alone bring insult to the Most Holy Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. There are many Americans who may possibly become Orthodox if it were not so political and ethnic. it can lose those traits without diluting the teaching. Until that time I will remain an independent Orthodox Priest whether recognized by mainstream or not, it doesn’t matter.

    In Prayer through His Most Holy Name,

    Rev. Fr. Michael

    • Joan Laufnick says:

      Fr.Michael, brothers often have disagreements. They still love each other and want reconciliation, after all they come from the same Father. Both love the Father, & God the Father loves all his children.

  4. Andreas Comonos says:

    What most Orthodox do not realize is that the excommunications of 1054 were PERSONAL EXCOMMUNICATIONS. These excommunications have been lifted. The only thing holding back full communion between the Orthodox and R.C.’s are the theological issues. Solving the Filioque issue and Papal Authority Claims will go far. Rome has always insisted on a “central administration” of their church from Rome. The Orthodox Church has always followed the Apostolic Tradition of “Local Churches ruled by Local Bishops.” In Orthodox Canon Law, bishops/ Patriarchs do not have influence over territory beyond their own LOCAL territory. This is why foreign Orthodox bishops CANNOT have dioceses in other countries. Russia cannot have dioceses in North America; nor Syria, Serbia, Greece, etc. Recently, the Pat. of Istanbul (possibly having only 1,000 communicants) wishes to become an Eastern Pope and have control over all of Orthodoxy. This is non-canonical. All the bishops of North America “SHOULD” unite themselves under their OWN autocephalous Orthodox Church without ANY foreign bishop intervention or over-sight.

    • Michael Jude says:

      You don’t get it. You need unity. All this talk about churches starting their own authority is nonsense. It’s only a matter of time before the Patriarchy of Constantinople is suppressed by the Turkish government, there is no “New Rome,” it’s done. The handwriting is on the wall. The last thing we need is independent local bishops doing their own thing!

  5. I’m not sure unity is an achievable goal any time soon or that unity should even be the common focus of Orthodox-Catholic cooperation. The rapprochement between the Catholics and Orthodox Churches over the last four decades occurred largely through sharing in the common project of renewing the Christian foundations of culture which are rapidly eroding.

  6. I pray, as Roman Catholic , that we become one as our Lord has prayed for . It will be up to the Holy Spirit to achieve this. Yes there are issues we must work through but God is in control . I sincerely love my Othodox brothers and sisters.

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