To mark thirty years of patriarchal ministry, an International Conference honoring Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew took place in Thessaloniki on 26-29 May 2022, organized by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Patriarchal Foundation of Patristic Studies. Presentations offered a panoramic review of His All Holiness’ intense ministry and spiritual leadership over three decades. The last two sessions of the colloquium were devoted to inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogues. Speakers included Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop Angaelos from the Coptic Orthodox Church, the founder of the Sant’Egidio Community Andrea Riccardi, and Rabbi David Rosen who serves as the American Jewish Committee’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs.
In his inaugural address, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew directed attention to the contemporary challenges facing the theology and witness of all churches, stemming from technology, the economy, the environment, the social and political climate emerging in a fast changing world. Likewise, he underlined that “it is inconceivable to talk about faith and religion and not to refer to the role of religions in achieving and maintaining peace… And at the present time, we are concerned with the division of Christianity, the anthropological and moral confusion about the essentials of life among modern Christians, and how these will be overcome.” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew offered strong encouragement in the pursuit of ecumenical relations and dialogue, suggesting that the younger generation step forward to continue the efforts of the older ones and to follow their ecumenical vision. In particular, the Ecumenical Patriarch advocated common Christian witness as the path of the churches in the world of today.
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