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The Pope's Letter to Encounter of Eastern Catholic Churches of America and Oceania


ECUMENICAL BREAKTHROUGH?

VATICAN CITY, NOV 17 (ZENIT).- This past weekend, the dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox took a giant step. A meeting between the two confessions was held in Genoa, Italy, from November 12-14, with the theme: "Sister Churches, Brother Nations." 

These inter-religious meetings are organized by the St. Egidio Community, as a follow-up to the 1986 ecumenical spirit of Assisi, during which the Holy Father met with leading members of the world's religions to pray for peace. Last year's meeting of the Orthodox and Catholics in Bucharest, opened the doors of Rumania to the Pope. One cannot help but wonder what doors will open after the Genoa meeting over the weekend.

Although there were political and religious leaders from all over the world in Genoa, the most numerous and important representations were those of the Orthodox and Catholics.

The first door the Genoa meeting has opened is that of Damascus. The Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch has invited John Paul II to visit Damascus--one of the stages of the Pontiff's pilgrimage to the places of Revelation of the Old and New Testaments.

                            "Mea Culpa"

But Genoa also witnessed a very important event in the changing relations between Orthodox and Catholics. Many Christian representatives have expressed a sincere "mea culpa." The strongest, perhaps, was that of the Orthodox Archbishop of Tirana, Albania, who without hesitation called everyone a "devil," including himself, for having created pointless divisions among the Churches. Rumanian Patriarch Teoctist emphasized that Christians do nothing but organize conferences, but do not give witness to unity.....

                                New Fraternity

"The fraternity that Christians have found once more," the Holy Father writes in the message he sent to the Genoa summit, "makes us more aware of the gravity of the sin of division, which is a scandal for us and for the world. Consequently, we cannot delay the way toward the unity of the Churches. In fact, every delay runs the risk not only of lessening fraternal joy, but of making us accomplices in the divisions."

The meeting ended with a common declaration of all the participants in which they appeal to Christians throughout the world to not allow themselves to be discouraged by division. "The Gospel is the word for the future of the world!" And they add: "The love of God and the witness of martyrs unite us; what divides us is not that much...."


 

Father
Sergius Golovanov and members of the mission community in Tomsk, Sept, 1999.

 

 



ORIENTALE LUMEN III

Clergy and members of several of our parishes attended the Orientale Lumen III Conference in Washington, D.C. (June 15-18, 1999). Clergy and parishioners from St. Michael's in New York, Our Lady of Fatima in San Francisco, St. Philip Metropolitan of Moscow, Moscow, and St. Nicholas, Melbourne, Australia, participated in the events of the Conference and also gathered together for a short sobor.


Photo 1: Group photo of the Conference Participants:


Photo 2: Fr. John Soles, Dr. Vladimir Belov, and Fr. Stefan Caprio at the lecture by Metropolitan Isaias of Denver:


Photo 3: Former St. Michael's parishioner Carl Krauthauser and Reader Methodios Stadnik assist Cantor Jack Figel and Fr. James Hayer with the singing at Vespers:


Photo 4: Archdeacon Lawrence Cross of Melbourne and Reader Mediodios assist His Grace Bishop John Michael administering communion during the Byzantine Catholic Pontifical Divine Liturgy:


Photo 5: The Russian Byzantine Catholic sobor:


 

 

Father Archimandrite Sergiusz Gajek meeting with His Holiness Pope John Paul II at Sieldce, Poland, June 10, 1999

 


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