Category Archives: Ecumenism

Pope talks about Christian Unity this week

This week the Christian Churches around the world are observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Today, the Pope gave his thoughts on the subject:

1.  “we have listening to the teaching of the Apostles, or
listening to the witness that they give to the mission, life, death and
resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is what Paul simply calls the Gospel”.
“Even today, the community of believers recognizes in reference to the
teaching of the Apostles the law for their faith; every effort to build unity
among all Christians therefore passes through the deepening of fidelity to the
deposit of faith handed down to us by the apostles.”

Read more ...

Praying the Christian Unity

Conversion of St Paul Caravaggio.jpgThe theme chosen for 2011s Week of Prayer for Christian
is: “One in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread
and prayer
” (cf. Acts 2:42). The week of prayer was collaboratively
prepared by members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and
the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

In the US, the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement spear-head many significant ecumenical initiatives.

Daily themes:

18 January: The Church in Jerusalem
19 January: Many Members in One Body
January: Devotion to the Apostles’ Teaching Unites Us
21 January: Sharing, an
Expression of Our Unity
22 January: Breaking the Bread in Hope
23 January:
Empowered to Action in Prayer
24 January: Living in Resurrection Faith
January: Called for the Service of Reconciliation.

The closing Vespers service led
by Benedict XVI held at the Basilica of Saint Paul’s outside-the-Walls at 5.30
pm (Rome time) on Tuesday, 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle
Paul. Various delegations of ecumenical guests will be present for Vespers.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tarcisio Bertone’s homily for the feast of St Andrew at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Assumption of Astana, Kazakhstan

Tarcisio Bertone.jpgI am happy to be in Astana, capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, this noble and vast country located in the heart of the Eurasian territory. I wish to express my profound joy at being able to visit your Cathedral of the Assumption, recently opened for worship. I greet everyone with affection, beginning with His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander and, while I thank him for his fraternal reception, I bring to him and to all of you the cordial greeting of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, praying that it be transmitted to His Holiness Kirill, patriarch of Moscow and All Russias. I then greet the other religious (and civil) authorities, the priests, deacons and faithful of the Orthodox Church of Kazakhstan. May this fraternal meeting of ours inspire a renewed impetus to join forces, so that in a not distant future we, the disciples of Christ, can proclaim with one voice and one heart the Gospel, message of hope for the whole of humanity.

The occasion of this agreeable visit to Astana is the summit of heads of state and government of countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which will take place in the next few days. This circumstance suggested to the highest authorities of Kazakhstan to address to me a cordial invitation to visit your land. In willingly receiving this deferent and appreciated gesture, I immediately thought of the joy of being able to go to a country in which there are ample possibilities for a peaceful and profitable religious coexistence. In this context, for us Christians the duty of reciprocal love is all the more urgent: we are called, in fact, to give witness to all, with words and works, that God is Love. In this connection, my presence also intends to be an encouragement to continue on the way of great respect and affection, which I know exists between the Orthodox and Catholic communities of Astana, as well as of other cities. Propitious occasions are not lacking, dear friends, of mutual support and of deepening of friendship.

Today, in this welcome meeting with you, I have the special joy of fulfilling the lofty task entrusted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, of handing you a fragment of the distinguished relics of the Apostle St. Andrew, which are venerated in Italy, in the city of Amalfi. This assignment, which I am honored to effect in the hands of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander, comes in response to the devout request that his predecessor, Metropolitan Mefodji, and Archbishop Tomash Peta, Catholic Metropolitan, jointly addressed to Pope Benedict XVI. The Pontiff, gladly desiring to meet the ardent request, decided to send to the two respective Churches two fragments of the precious relics. This choice has a profound significance, in as much as is underlines the common veneration of the Apostles.

I am happy to stress that today’s event of handing the relic of St. Andrew, who you venerate, coincides in fact with the day in which, according to the calendar of the Latin Church, his liturgical feast is celebrated. Andrew was born in Bethsaida, at first he was a disciple of John the Baptist and then he followed the Lord Jesus, to whom he also led his brother Peter. Together with Philip he presented Christ himself to the Gentiles and pointed out the boy who carried the fish and the loaves. According to tradition, after Pentecost, he preached in different areas and was crucified in Achaia, Greece. The Gospel narrates that Jesus, “passing along by the Sea of Galilee, saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'” (Mark 1:16-17). Andrew, hence, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus. Precisely on the basis of this fact, the Byzantine liturgy honors him with the name of Protoklitos, which means precisely, the first called.

The evangelical account continues specifying that “immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18). It is this quick adherence that allowed the Apostles to spread the Word, the “good news” of salvation. Faith comes from listening, and what is heard is the Word of Christ, which still today the Church spreads to the ends of the earth. This Word is the indispensable food of the soul. It is said in the book of the prophet Amos that God will put hunger in the world, not hunger for bread, but to hear his word (cf. Amos 8:11). This is a healthy hunger, because it makes us seek constantly and receive the Word of God, knowing that it must nourish us for the whole of life. Nothing in life can have consistency, nothing can really satisfy us if it is not nourished, penetrated, illumined, guided by the Word of the Lord. Moreover, an ever more profound commitment of radical adherence to this Word, together with the support of the Holy Spirit, constitute the strength to realize the aspiration of every Christian community and of every individual faithful to unity (cf. Benedict XVI, Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, No. 46).

From the Gospel of St. John, we gather another important particular regarding the Apostle Andrew: “He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ. He brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-43), demonstrating immediately an unmistakable apostolic spirit. To this end, St. John Chrysostom comments: “Andrew’s word is the word of one who anxiously awaited the coming of the Messiah, whose descent from heaven he awaited, who trembled with joy when he saw him arrive, and who hurried to communicate the great news to the others. See in what way he notifies what he had appreciated in a short time? Andrew, after having stayed with Jesus and having learned everything that Jesus taught him, did not keep the treasure to himself, but hurried to his brother to communicate to him the richness he had received. Look also at Peter’s spirit, from the beginning docile and quick in faith: he runs immediately without being concerned about anything else” (Homily 19, 1; PG 59, 120).

In the beautiful icon donated by Patriarch Athenagoras I to Pope Paul VI on Jan. 5, 1964, the two Holy Apostles, Peter the Coryphaeus and Andrew the Protoklitos, embrace, in an eloquent language of love, beneath the glorious Christ. Andrew was the first to follow the Lord, Peter was called to confirm his brothers in the faith. Their embrace under the gaze of Christ is an invitation to continue the path undertaken, toward that goal of unity that we intend to reach together. Nothing must discourage us, but we must go forward with hope, supported by the intercession of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, as well as by the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, Mother of Christ and our Mother. Let us ask God with particular intensity for the precious gift of unity among all Christians, making our own the invocation that Jesus raised to the Father for his disciples: “that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21).

Saint Andrew: the Ecumenical agenda

Constantinople & Rome.JPGSaint Andrew is the first of the 12 Apostles called by Jesus to follow Him. Today is his feast day, the day traditionally remembered as the day of his death.

Official delegations of prayer and fraternal exchange happen for the June feast of Saints Peter and Paul (in Rome) and for today’s feast of Saint Andrew (in Constantinople). The protocol followed is that Patriarch Bartholomew I sends a message and a group to Rome in June and the Pope does the same on November 30 for today’s feast. Often there’s a series of meetings, discussions, academic exchanges, and a festive meal. Kurt Cardinal Koch and Bishop Brian Farrell, LC, (president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity) represented the Holy Father today.

The meeting was covered by Vatican Radio. Visit here.
The Catholic News Agency reports that the Pope is urging greater efforts to realize unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The Pope’s message to the Patriarch: Benedict XVI to Bartholomew I Nov 30 2010.pdf

Queen Elizabeth II’s address to the 9th General Synod of the Church of England: face the challenges or else…

It’s funny for Catholics to hear of the Queen being the head of the Church of England. But she is. Anglican way of doing things is foreign to my experience and so I am intrigued by what I read and hear about the CofE. She gently reminds the bishops and assembled laity that there are crucial challenges to face and exhorts them to heed Saint Paul. The Queen also dares to mention the recent visit of Pope Benedict to England in that protestant hall. As a point of contrast, read through the following address Her Majesty gave today to her ecclesial body: there’s a distinct difference in content and style between what is said by the Queen and how the Pope would say things. We need to pray that the Queen and her family come home to the bosom of Mother Church.

Queen attends 9th Synod.jpg

Your Graces, The
Convocations of Canterbury and York, duly called together in obedience to Our
Royal Writs, are on this day joined together in accordance with the Synodical
Government Measure 1969 and the House of Laity is added to them in accordance
with that Measure, so as to constitute the ninth General Synod of the Church of

Those who serve the Church of England in its public ministry are
required to affirm their loyalty to its inheritance of faith as their
inspiration and guidance under God. They also declare their commitment to
bringing the grace and truth of Christ and making him known to those in their

The opening of a new Synod is a moment when we can all give thanks for
the witness of those who have gone before, and pray for wisdom as you seek to
balance change and continuity in the decisions that lie ahead of you.

Next year
will see two important anniversaries. It will be four hundred years since the
publication of the Authorised Version of the Bible commissioned by King James,
and two hundred years since the foundation of the National Society for
Promoting Religious Education. Both developments had a lasting impact on the
life of the Church and the nation.

Read more ...

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory