Skip to comments.Ecumenical Patriarch's Welcome of the Papal Delegation on the Feast of +Andrew
Posted on 12/02/2009 5:29:28 PM PST by Kolokotronis
Your Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, representative of His Holiness the Pope and Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI, and your honorable entourage,
It is with great joy that we welcome you once again to the courtyard of the Church of New Rome in order to concelebrate the sacred memory of its founder and protector Saint Andrew the First-Called of the Apostles. We express our heartfelt gratitude to our beloved brother in the Lord, His Holiness Pope Benedict of Old Rome, who deigned to delegate his representatives to the Thronal feast of our Church, following the custom established decades ago for an exchange of visitations during the patronal feasts of our two ancient and apostolic Churches as confirmation of their desire to lift the impediments, accumulated over a millennium and preventing the fullness of communion among them. We attribute great symbolical significance to your presence here inasmuch as it also reveals in a deeply formal manner the desire of the most holy Church of Rome to do whatever it can on its part, so that we may rediscover our unity in the same faith and sacramental communion according to the will of Him who has called us to unity so that the world may believe. (John 17.21)
As is known, St. Andrew the First-Called of the apostles, whom we celebrate today, was the brother of St. Peter the chief among the apostles; together, they knew Christ and believed in Him. The two brothers held this faith in common; the two Churches, which they founded and sanctified by means of their preaching and martyrdom, I did also hold this faith in common. This same faith was proclaimed as doctrine by our common Church Fathers, who gathered from east and west in ecumenical councils, where they transmitted it as an invaluable treasure to our Churches in order that we might build upon this faith our unity in Christ. It is this same faith, preserved intact for an entire millennium both in the east and the west, which we are again called to establish as the basis of our unity, cleansing it from any chance addition or alteration, so that with one soul and one mind (Phil. 2.2) we may proceed to communion in the divine Eucharist, wherein lies the fullness of the unity of the Church of Christ.
This journey toward achieving full communion, as enjoyed by our Churches in common during the first millennium, has already commenced with the dialogue of love and truth, and continues by Gods grace despite occasional difficulties. It is with vigilant concern and unceasing prayer that we follow the process of the ongoing official Theological Dialogue between our two Churches, co-chaired by Your Eminence, and now embarking upon the examination of critical ecclesiological issues, such as the question of primacy in general and that of the bishop of Rome in particular. Everyone is aware that this thorny issue proved a scandalous contention in the course of relations between our two Churches, which is why the eradication of this impediment from among us will surely greatly facilitate our journey toward unity. We are, therefore, convinced that the study of Church history during the first millennium, at least with regard to this matter, will also provide the touchstone for the further evaluation of later developments during the second millennium, which unfortunately led our Churches to greater estrangement and intensified our division.
In a world shattered by contrasts and conflicts, the exchange of peaceful and constructive dialogue constitutes the only way of achieving reconciliation and unity. In the apostolic passage read during this mornings Divine Liturgy, the Apostles are promoted as an example of utter humility in imitation of the crucified Lord: When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day. (1 Cor. 4. 12-13) If this ethos of humility must prevail in the relations of the faithful toward the persecutors of the Church, how much more so should it prevail in the relations among Christians themselves! The peaceful resolution of existing differences in inter-Christian relations by no means implies estrangement from truth. For truth does not fear dialogue; on the contrary, truth employs dialogue as a means of becoming acceptable even to those who for various reasons reject it. Hatred and fanaticism provoke the defensive entrenchment of each side in the blind persistence on its own positions and opinions, while consolidating differences and obliterating all hope of reconciliation. Such an attitude is absolutely unrelated to the spirit of the Christs Gospel and the apostolic example. For only by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4.15) do we truly speak the truth, just as only by loving truthfully (2 John 1) do we truly love. A dialogue imbued by a sincere spirit of humility guarantees this blessed combination, which comprises the only divinely-inspired way for all those who wish to be imitators of the Apostles. (1 Cor. 4.16)
It is this spirit of sincere and loving dialogue that the Church of Christ itself is today called to implement in its relations among divided Christians, while at the same time proclaiming it to all persons of good will, wherever they happen to be. We know from bitter experience that religion can easily be misused as a banner of fanaticism and conflict among people. We have personally emphasized on numerous occasions that war in the name of religion is war against religion. This is why interfaith dialogue is particularly mandatory in our age, without entailing any compromise in ones religious convictions. It is this dialogue that is encouraged and cultivated by our Ecumenical Patriarchate, which contributes in this way to the consolidation of peace in our contemporary world.
Your Eminence Cardinal Kasper and your honorable entourage,
Through the order established by the holy Ecumenical Councils, Divine Providence has assigned to the Church of this City the ministry of serving as the first-throne of the Orthodox Church, bearing the responsibility of coordinating and expressing the unanimity of the local holy Orthodox Churches. With this responsibility, then, we are now working diligently in preparation for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, by activating the appropriate preconciliar instruments. Thus, only last June, we successfully convened the 4th Preconciliar Panorthodox Consultation, which dealt with the question of the Orthodox Diaspora; soon, we shall convene the Preparatory Commission for the study and preparation of other issues for the Great Council. The purpose of this entire endeavor is to forge the unity of the Orthodox Church, so that with one mind and one heart it may contribute to the witness of the Gospel in our modern world. In this effort and overall variously difficult service, the Church of Constantinople always considers the support of the Old Church of Rome as invaluable, and so with great love we also direct our thought there at this moment.
Greeting you and through you, him who sent you here, namely our beloved brother in the Lord with a sacred embrace, we pray that the Lord our God, through the intercessions of the Holy glorious and First-Called Apostle Andrew, will protect His Church from all evil, guiding it to the fulfillment of His divine will. Welcome here among us, beloved brothers!
No point in not having the entire welcoming speech!
The Orthodox are planning an all-Orthodox council? I didn't know that. I wonder if all the autocephalous churches are on board, e.g., Russia, the third Rome. I wonder what the implications would be vis a vis Rome -- I'm rather skeptical of corporate union any time soon, but with God, anything is possible.
And I was expecting the speech to be in Greek (sarcasm).
Thanks for posting, loved the references to “Old Rome” and “New Rome”.
So far as I know, everyone in canonical Orthodoxy is on board now. Russia is playing a major role in the planning. But the planning process has been going on for decades and it has been contentious in the past with some elements, mostly very conservative "true, honest to God we really mean it real Orthodox" being vociferously opposed for fear that it will lead to a reunion. I think those people have been marginalized, but there are others who see such a council as a Vatican II type trap for Orthodoxy. Part of the reason for the long planning has been to avoid exactly that.
I wonder what the implications would be vis a vis Rome
Depending on where the Dialogs are when the Council opens, it could have a very major impact on inter Church relations.
Think it would cheese anyone off if we started referring to New York as “New Constantinople” or “Fourth Rome”? ;)
I’m joshing of course...I’m fond of the vintage 4th century terminology myself.
I can post it if you want, but here's the link (no sarcasm):
Good...take all the time to plan you need. We’re still busy shoving the last of the Vatican II liturgical barbarians out the door while we clean all the felt outta the place.
I think people would be right in the Orthodox world in this day and age to worry about a modernizing craze arising and justifying itself by a council called with a vague agenda or such a council’s supposed “spirit”, a la Vatican II. I am of the old school who believes councils should only be called to address particular urgent heresies. I hasten to add that I do not object to Vatican II’s magisterial documents, which have their good points (and I am not a novus ordo hater, so long as the reformed liturgy is done reverently and with better and more traditional music).
The original tentative agenda, drawn up in the 70s was a modernizer nightmare. So far as I know, its been scrapped but truth be told, I don’t trust our crowned heads as a group any more than I trust yours as a group. So the longer the “planning” goes on, the better as far as I am concerned. Like you said, Great Councils should be called to address particular heresies or maybe even a Great Reunion, but not, as one of the 70s suggestions had it, our fasting rules and liturgical forms (sound familiar?)!
Well, if the Orthodox Church was planning on calling a council in the 1970s for the sole purpose of dealing with Liturgy and Liturgical disciplines, i.e. Fasting, practices for Lent, etc, then good for them for not calling it!!!