Oriental and western Christianity: cultural fraternity

11 September 2021
Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch: the merciful God to strengthen and bless our endeavors to advance on the path to unity

According to Patriarch Bartholomew those who participate at the holy Eucharist must to live their presence and actions as a “liturgy after Liturgy”. In his speech delivered at Saturday of the Eucharistic Congress the head of the Church in Constantinople urged the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Churches.

The Eucharist forms the kernel of ecclesial life – declared Bartholomew I Patriarch of Constantinople in his speech delivered before the Holy Mass celebrated at Saturday evening of the International Eucharistic Congress. He reminded: the Eucharist, as a Greek word means “thanks”, that “reminds us that our lives and the entirety of creation are not our property, but rather they are a precious gift of God the Creator”, that we have to accept with gratitude and with glorification of the majesty of God. – he said. He pointed out that at the moment of the presentation we offer the bread and wine which represent the whole of creation that God transforms into a mystery of communion. Bartholomew I Patriarch cited the Encyclical of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Create in 2016, according to which: „By participating in the holy Eucharist and praying in the Sacred Synaxis for the whole world, we are called to continue the “liturgy after the Liturgy” and to offer witness concerning the truth of our faith before God and mankind, sharing God’s gifts with all mankind.”

He emphasized: people cannot be introverted and indifferent. „You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” – as the patriarch cited the Gospel of Mathew and added: the closed and gloomy Christian is a lampstand placed “under the basket”.

The Patriarch of Constantinople highlighted that the Church gathers the faithful in the Eucharistic Liturgy, “to one body, without any distinction of race, gender, age, independent of social, cultural or financial status”. The Liturgy is not the place of “a vertical encounter of each of the believers with God but a union of them in a community”.

Bartholomew cited John the Metropolitan of Pergamon according to whom the world will not be saved through the Church’s help, but rather, through becoming Church. (…) Whoever attempts to reach Christ by bypassing the Church wastes his time – he stated.

The Eastern Church leader, analyzing the social impact of the eucharistic spirit pointed out that the initiatives of the Church for the protection of the natural environment and the culture of solidarity are rooted in the eucharistic experience and theology. He declared that the very life of the Church is applied ecology and solidarity, consequently „every objectivation and exploitation of creation and our fellow human being distort Christian cosmology and anthropology”.

Patriarch Bartholomew also spoke at length about the need of the reconciliation the Eastern and Western Churches. He declared: „The eucharistic realization of the Church in the common chalice and in the shared Christian witness in the world is the vision and the dream of all of us”. Regarding the schism he cited Father Georges Florovsky who said that „ according to the plan of God should not have taken place”, since Christians belong to the very same spiritual space, „ East and West organically belong together in the unity of Christendom” – quoted again Father Florovsky according to whom we can call the two denominations „cultural sisters” or even „Siamese twins”. The Patriarch of Constantinople invited the pilgrims to pray to the merciful God „to strengthen and bless our endeavors to advance on the path to unity”.

In 2000 in front of the Basilic of Saint Stephen’s Basilica His Holiness Bartholomew I Patriarch in a Holy Mass issued the bull about the honoring as saint of our first king Saint Stephen also in the orthodox church. The orthodox church leader’s gesture was extraordinary because since the schism on behalf of the the orthodox church there has been no example of recognition as own one of the Roman Catholic Church’s saint. The person of Saint Stephen, Hungarian king is a bridge between Eastern and Western Churches.

Bartholomaiosz KOssuth tér

Fotó: Magyar Kurír