UNITY MUST REMAIN A HIGH PRIORITY FOR THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT
- His Holiness Aram I made this appeal on the occasion of the blessing of the Holy Muron in Antelias. He emphasized the deep meaning of the Holy Muron in the Armenian Church in baptism and confirmation. Baptism with water and anointment with the Holy Muron, he said, leads us into a common life in Jesus Christ. The baptized, as the community of believers, are the church. Baptism leads Christians towards achieving God's gift of visible unity in one faith.
In the course of history, geographical, cultural and doctrinal differences have frequently divided the churches. According to His Holiness these divisive characteristics of the church belong to its institutional expression and not to its esse. The churches are called to work for visible unity and heal these wounds in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The World Council of Churches was established in 1948 as an instrument to assist churches towards achieving the goal of unity. Despite the efforts of the Commission on Faith and Order to respond to different understandings of unity arising from different world contexts and world views, and despite the Commission's efforts, with the active participation of the Roman Catholic theologians, to initiate convergence processes in the critical areas of ecclesiology and doctrine, the ecumenical movement has failed to achieve a common vision of unity. There are a number of reasons for this failure. The churches and confessional families are preoccupied with their own domestic problems. They prefer bilateral dialogues to multilateral commitments. And, the ecumenical movement, by adopting new priorities in response to the new realities of the world, has shifted away from the vision of unity as its raison d'être. Catholicos Aram I is clear on this point: "The vision of unity should remain the overarching goal for witness and service, for growing together in fellowship and in acting together".
Aram I, who served as Moderator of the WCC for 15 years, firmly believes that "the ecumenical movement should not compromise unity for new types of relationships and new concerns" In his view, "unfortunately, we observe this phenomenon not only on the global level, but also in regional and national ecumenical bodies. We observe this trend not only among younger member churches but also among those churches that have played a major role in the formation and expansion of the modern ecumenical movement. Unity must recover its central place in the ecumenical movement. Otherwise, the ecumenical movement will lose its meaning and importance and will become disoriented, will disintegrate and will be replaced by coalitions, alliances and forums".
For more details : http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/v04/doc/English/cathcilnewseng.htm#5