Skip to comments.World Orthodox Ecumenists Meet ELCA Delegation in Istanbul
Posted on 02/11/2010 4:51:50 PM PST by lightman
ISTANBUL, Turkey (ELCA) -- A delegation of clergy and lay leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) stressed "the long view" in ecumenical dialogue, a topic of discussion with leaders of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate here Feb. 9. The Lutherans and Orthodox discussed the status of some of the 28 international Orthodox theological dialogues, dialogue difficulties and the overall desire for Christian unity.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is the global headquarters of the Eastern Orthodox. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, world Orthodox leader, met the ELCA delegation Feb. 8. He also hosted the Lutherans at a luncheon Feb. 9 before the delegation left for Rome, the next stop on the delegation's journey. In Rome the ELCA delegation will meet with Vatican leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI.
The 12-member ELCA delegation is on a two-week "2010 Ecumenical Journey" led by the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop and president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
Dr. Athanasios Papa, Senior Orthodox Metropolitan of Chalcedon, said theological dialogues are like train tracks -- some run parallel, while others "can separate and diverge, and that's what we must avoid."
Theological dialogue is important to the Orthodox, he said. "They must be genuine and everyone must respect the other," he said. The ordination of women and ethical and moral issues -- such as ordination of people who are gay or lesbian and same-gender marriages -- can hinder such conversations, he said.
The LWF and the Orthodox have maintained an international dialogue for nearly 30 years. Currently the dialogue is examining "The Nature and the Marks of the Church, Mission and Evangelization." Metropolitan Papa said new dialogue partners include Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals and Seventh Day Adventists. He reviewed for the Lutherans other Orthodox dialogues with the Roman Catholics, Ancient Oriental Churches, Old Catholics, Anglicans, Reformed, the Evangelical Church in Germany, plus conversations with Muslim and Jewish theologians.
He also told the ELCA delegation that some believe the Orthodox are in an "ecumenical winter" and some say they are "ecumenically tired" of such discussions.
Hanson said similar voices can be heard sometimes in the ELCA. "We hear that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is neither tired, nor in winter. We say the same about Lutherans. There is clear evidence we are making progress, and we see the spirit of ecumenism in local communities that give us encouragement," he said.
Hanson said those who are ecumenically tired should take "a longer view" of the history of the church. "When they do, they see progress in a relatively short period of 2,000 years," he said, adding that it was Jesus' prayer that Christians be unified.
The Rev. Claire Burkat, bishop, ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, said she is in dialogue with leaders of many religious traditions, including some who do not ordain women. She said this is her 32nd year as an ordained pastor. The "long view" is how she sees her ministry.
Commenting on Lutherans in the United States, Burkat said, "It took nearly a decade before anyone got used to ordained women. It's kairos, not chronos -- in God's time."
"The great value of this visit is taking the 'long view,'" said the Rev. Michael Burk, bishop, ELCA Southeastern Iowa Synod. Tensions between culture and tradition are a challenge, particularly on ethical and moral issues, he said.
"Our commitment is to see how the blessed Holy Spirit is working in that tension," Burk said.
Hanson reviewed the decisions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly on human sexuality for the Orthodox ecumenists. "Even though we continue to have tensions in our church over this, we don't believe this should be church-dividing," he said. Hanson provided copies of the LWF statement on "Marriage, Family and Human Sexuality" to the Orthodox. In accordance with the 2007 Lund agreement, each LWF-member church is requested to study the document for a five-year period and respect the deliberations of other member churches, he said.
--- Photos from the 2010 Ecumenical Journey are at http://photos.ELCA.org/ELCA-News-Service-1 on the ELCA Web site.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, left, hosted a farewell luncheon for the ELCA delegation Feb. 9 in Istanbul. With him is the Rev. Susan Langhauser, Olathe, Kan., a member of the ELCA Church Council and the delegation.
The ELCA (and other liberal protestant denominations) are in NO position whatsoever for any dialogue with the Orthodox, or the Roman Catholics.
The liberal protestants have been diverging so far away from the historic Christian tradition. How can you, for example, have a “dialogue” about the Filioque with the Orthodox when your liturgy makes “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” optional? How can you discuss the Holy Eucharist when so much of the ELCA doubts that the bread and wine are the True Body and Blood of Christ, and a growing number of ELCA congregations commune the unbaptized?
The fact that one of the ELCA delegates wants to emphasize women’s ordination shows that the ELCA just doesn’t get it!!!!
From an Orthodox point of view, the real point of ecumenical relations is to invite Roman Catholics and Protestants to “taste and see”, with the goal of their return (by the grace of God) to the Church of Sts. Boniface, Patrick, Olaf, Irenaeus, Aidan, Alban, Ansgar, Martin, David, etc.—the Orthodox Church!!!!
I guess elca churches need to redirect more of their offerings.
I guess this didn’t pick up my gyst: if you could please add me to BOTH the Lutheran AND Orthodox ping lists. Thanks.
“Long view” translation: let’s wear them down with our blasphemous ideology. It’s a shame that the ELCA, being the biggest (but most liberal) of Lutheran denominations decides it has the wherewithal to take on the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch. The LCMS or WELS synods are much more traditional, conservative, and closer to Orthodoxy than the ELCA, by far. The ELCA just gives the confessional Lutherans a bad name with their gay agenda /(spits).
I’d say that HAH is extending the Grace of Christ to these people. Nothing else. There is no way that some of the pie-in-the-sky, heretical - and sometimes downright apostate - nonsense that some of these groups preach in the name of tolerance would pass muster with a Synod of Bishops, let alone the laity.
And, by the way, the EP is Primus Inter Pares. No more. He has no direct authority over other Patriarchates or autocephalous churches except to serve as Presiding Bishop in the event of an Ecumenical Council.
Apparently on a quest for the Holy Grail, whatever it is that they perceive such to be. Ecumenical unity, perhaps, which is quite unachievable, but for some a suitable substitute for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is sooo yesterday...