"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Patriarch's Impact at the Synod

Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis
Zenit has an interesting interview with Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis about the participation of Patriarch Bartholomew I in the recent Synod of Catholic Bishops. Here's a selection (my emphases in bold):

Archimandrite Ignatios: First of all, I feel proud to see His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Sistine Chapel, where popes are elected, also famous worldwide for its artistic value, because I consider the invitation from Pope Benedict to the "primus inter pares" of the Orthodox Church a most great honor. ...

It was a historical event, in which a Pope celebrates vespers before the representatives of the entire Catholic episcopate and on this occasion, doesn't exercise his ministry as teacher, but concedes it to the second bishop of the Church when it was not yet divided.

What most impressed me was what the Pope said when the patriarch's homily, received with long applause, was over: "If we have common fathers, how can we not be brothers?" ....

Q: But the great novelty, perhaps, has not been the patriarch's intervention, but rather the desire of the Pope, expressed at the end of vespers, to include the patriarch's proposals in the synodal proposals. This is an initiative that appears to have been welcomed by the synod fathers. In this way, for the first time in history, the magisterium of an ecumenical patriarch could be taken up by the official magisterium of the Catholic Church in the postsynodal apostolic exhortation.

Archimandrite Ignatios: When we are united in the Word of God, our path inevitably leads us toward a second stage, which is full unity, that is, a common celebration of the Eucharist. But this will not be reached as much with human efforts as with the breath and will of the Holy Spirit.

Q: Yet those who hope for this unity sometimes see it as something far off …

Archimandrite Ignatios: The separation of the Eastern and Western Church occurred over various centuries; it was not an isolated event in the year 1054, but a long cultural, linguistic process. … I think that the re-encounter will happen in the same way, following a gradual path. We separated slowly, and slowly we will unite. But it is not for us to talk of dates.

What is certain is the desire of the Orthodox Church that the Church of Rome parts with its temporal power and dedicates itself totally to its spiritual mission for the transformation of the world.

[My original post on this event, as well as the Patriarch's address to the Synod, can be found here. Please continue to pray daily for the full visible unity of all Christians.]

1 comment:

Andrew Preslar said...

"... the breath and will of the Holy Spirit."

Indeed.

I appreciate your posts on the occasions of East-West meetings. I am a Byzantine-Rite Catholic (and a Thomist!).

I am not at all sure what role we might have in ecumenical action. The ways in which the particular Eastern Catholic Churches have "returned" to Rome are not necessarily the ways in which reunion shall be effected by the Holy Spirit in the future. But they are ways, and they have led to unity- not always a comfortable nor an easy unity, either in doctrine or discipline, but full sacramental communion nonetheless.