It’s like having your favorite but not too seen aunt Gretchen over the house for coffee to remember what she looks like and to keep up some appearances of genuine love. I shouldn’t make light of such encounters; they are important. It’s tradition and tradition is a very good thing. On the feast of Saints Peter and Paul a delegation is sent to Rome to meet the Pope, to exchange fraternal greetings, to listen to a brief discourse that’s on the mind of the Pope, to hear what the Patriarch of Constantinople has to say, etc. The whole thing is repeated on November 30 when Rome sends a delegation to Constantinople for the feast of Saint Andrew. The trouble is, does anything concrete result from these yearly meetings? What are the implications of this type of high level meeting? Note the Pope’s perspective and his hope. There is an important rhythm of dialogue that happens in coming to understand human and ecclesial complexities which have an end in mind. Two of the Pope’s paragraphs are noted below.
The Orthodox delegation included: His Eminence, Emmanuel, metropolitan of France and Director of the Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union, Bishop Athenagoras, Bishop of Sinope and auxiliary to the metropolitan of Belgium and Archimandrite Maximus Pothos, vicar general of the metropolitan of Switerland.
Watch the video report from H2O News.
We follow with great attention the work of the Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole. From a purely human point of view, one might have the impression that the theological dialogue is having trouble in progressing. In reality, the rhythm of dialogue is linked to the complexity of the themes being discussed, which call for an extraordinary effort of study, of reflection and of reciprocal openness. We are called to continue this course together in charity, invoking light and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, in the certainty that He wishes to lead us to the full accomplishment of the will of Christ: that they may all be one (John 17:21). I am particularly grateful to all the members of the Mixed Commission and in particular to the co-Presidents, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Pergamum Ioannis and His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, for their tireless dedication, their patience and their competence.
The Holy Father, upon the recommendation of the Melkite Synod, has given his assent to election of the Most Reverend Nicholas James Samra as the new Eparch of Newton for the Melkites. Bishop Nicholas, 67, has been the auxiliary of the same. Bishop Nicholas replaces Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros who has been elected the Metropolitan of Beruit and Jbeil.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk was recently interviewed by Philippa Hitchens of Vatican Radio.
His Beatitude Sviatsolav is making headlines these days with all kinds of hott button issues. The news is reporting, predictably, that His Beatitude wants to work on relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. No doubt his own predictions for dialogue leading to deeper full, visible unity would indicate his desire to be fraternal with the ROC and one may also say that he’s taking note of Pope Benedict’s desire to meet with Patriarch Kyril.
Sviatsolav said: “Our church has voiced its readiness and openness for a dialogue ever since it emerged from the underground.” And he’s also reported to have said, “I think that today, we should heal the wounds rather than irritate and deepen them. One can heal the wounds of our memory only with mutual forgiveness. Therefore, as for any our brethren or neighbors who wounded us or were wounded by us, the best way to communicate is to be open in a brotherly dialogue, be open to the purification of our memory, to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.”