ZENIT: The World Seen From Rome
ZE07120504 - 2007-12-05
Orthodox Patriarch Says Unity an Obligation
Sends Message to Vatican on Feast of St. Andrew
By Miriam Diez i Bosch
ISTANBUL, Turkey, DEC. 5, 2007 ( <http://www.zenit.org/
> Zenit.org).- It is
an obligation to reclaim the spiritual, sacramental and doctrinal unity that
Europe enjoyed prior to the schism of the East and West, said the Orthodox
patriarch of Constantinople.
Bartholomew I said this Friday in a letter addressed to a delegation sent by
Benedict XVI to Istanbul for the regular exchange of visits between the two
Churches for the feasts of St. Andrew, Nov. 30, and Sts. Peter and Paul,
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting
Christian Unity, led the delegation.
Bartholomew I affirmed the presence of the delegation "both strengthens and
seals the bonds of love and trust between our Churches, bonds which have
been cultivated in recent decades, and which have been especially
established by the visit" of Benedict XVI in November 2006.
The patriarch also emphasized "that the peaceful coexistence of Christians,
in a spirit of unity and concord, must constitute the fundamental concern of
Bartholomew I recognized that in an age in which there is a rise of
"secularism and relativism, or even nihilism, especially in the Western
world," we must derive inspiration from the example of the Apostle Andrew,
who knew how to "remain upstanding through the strength of Christ" in spite
of "numerous difficulties."
The example of St. Andrew offers an opportunity to "pray together more
intently for the restoration of unity within the Christian world," urged
Bartholomew I, adding that "the fracture of this unity has been the cause of
so much trouble in humanity, while its consequences have proved tragic."
Bartholomew I emphasized that the Enlightenment philosophy in the West and
the French Revolution meant a true "cultural revolution aimed at replacing
the previous Christian tradition of the Western world with a new,
non-Christian, concept of man and society."
He said this "gave rise in many ways" to a "militant atheism and
totalitarianism which, over the last two centuries, have unfortunately
claimed the lives of millions of innocent victims."
The patriarch continued: "Today, then, it is our obligation more than ever
to reclaim the Christian roots of Europe and the spiritual, sacramental and
doctrinal unity that it enjoyed prior to the schism of our two Churches.
"The re-evangelization of our peoples is 'today, more so than ever before,
timely and necessary, even within traditional Christian lands,' as we
admitted and confessed in common here exactly one year ago."
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