Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue as Witness
Interview With Bishop Agathangelos of Fanarion
ROME, DEC. 18, 2006 (Zenit) - The theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches "can give witness of Christ," says a Greek Orthodox prelate.
Bishop Agathangelos of Fanarion is director general of the Apostoliki Diaconia, which in the Greek Orthodox Church is in charge of the missions, the formation of seminarians and publishing.
Last spring Bishop Agathangelos came to visit Rome with a Greek-Orthodox delegation, to get to know better the tradition and culture of the Catholic Church.
According to the bishop, it is important to discover everything that united the two Churches in the first millennium, when they were not yet divided, to get to know and listen to each other. He shared his views in this interview.
Q: What do you think of the relations between the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church?
Bishop Agathangelos: John Paul II's visit to Greece in 2001 was decisive in the improvement of relations between our Churches. In the Areopagus, the Pope met with Christodoulos, the archbishop of Athens and All Greece.
In the years after the visit, that is, since I have headed Apostoliki Diaconia, we have come closer in our relations with the Catholic Church, especially with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
One of the fruits of our collaboration is the preparation of a facsimile of the ancient and richly decorated manuscript "Menologium of Basil II" on the lives of the saints, which is kept in the Vatican Library. It is a most important work because it was made after the iconoclast period. This manuscript marks a turning point in the history of the Church of the East, which again begins to venerate icons and discovers the importance of beauty.
On the occasion of the manuscript's publication, we invited the librarian of the Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, to Athens, who brought greetings on behalf of Benedict XVI. On that occasion, Archbishop Christodoulos was invited to visit the Vatican.
Last year we offered, through the Apostolic Nunciature in Athens, scholarships to 30 Catholics so that they could visit our country, learn the language, get to know our culture and Orthodox tradition. In this way, Catholics could draw near the "other part" of the Church with which we "were one" for 1,000 years.
Q: Can the Greek Orthodox Church serve as example for the other Orthodox Churches of ecumenical dialogue with the Catholic Church?
Bishop Agathangelos: I think that every man of good will can discover the meaning of such dialogue and learn to dialogue.
Collaboration between the Churches cannot be compared to relations between states. This collaboration has many aspects and one of these is the visits which make it possible to overcome prejudices.
It is something that is very important, especially now, when we are beginning the new stage of dialogue between our Churches. I want to underline a fact: many Churches and patriarchates -- the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Patriarchate of Alexandria, of Jerusalem, Church of Cyprus, of Albania -- collaborate with us and appoint Greek professors of theology for the ecumenical contacts.
Q: The Catholic Church is very concerned about the way certain things are going in the European Union, especially in the promotion of the new vision of man and the family, which contradicts Christian anthropology. Does the Orthodox Church share this concern?
Bishop Agathangelos: We have the same fears that you do. We see with sadness that Europe, especially Western Europe, is abandoning Christianity. Politicians do not recognize the identity of our continent which is the fruit of our history and cannot be denied. It is a grave problem therefore which we must address cooperating among ourselves.
Q: But how can one convince the politicians of the European Union to give up the policies that attack the family if certain Protestant churches recognize homosexual unions?
Bishop Agathangelos: That is why the dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Church is so important. Very many things unite us: common tradition, theology, apostolic succession, opinions on bioethics, human rights, peace in the world.
For 1,000 years, we have lived together, for 1,000 consecutive years we were separated. In the course of history there were dramatic moments, we often felt wounded, but this does not mean that today we cannot live like brothers.
Q: In what way can our Churches oppose jointly the anti-Christian policies and the process of secularization of the Western world?
Bishop Agathangelos: I wish to make only one reflection. Our theological dialogue can give witness of Christ. Today people who are searching for the truth ask us: Why are you divided? How can we convince our faithful of the love of Christ if we are divided?
Q: You have already met with Benedict XVI.
Bishop Agathangelos: For me, it was very important to meet with Pope Benedict XVI and hear his words personally. After the visit, we left strengthened in spirit to work still more for the reunification of our Churches. These are our human plans. But if we have good intentions and open hearts, God will bless us: The history of the world and of the Church are in his hands.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Catholic, Orthodox, Agathangelos, Fanarion, Greek
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- 111 DEAD - Death toll mounts under California suicide law, will the ...
- Could man who destroyed Ten Commandments monument be possessed?
- St. Irenaeus: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 28, 2017
- Terrorists using Christians as sex slaves and human shields in the ...
- Persecution is part of the Gospel: Pope Francis believes following ...
- Daily Reading for Thursday, June 29th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, June 28, 2017
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 HD
- Central bankers warn of looming global recession HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, June 26th, 2017 HD