His All Holiness, BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch is the 270th successor of the 2,000 year-old local Christian Church founded by St. Andrew the Apostle. As Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew occupies the First Throne of the Orthodox Christian Church and presides in a fraternal spirit among all the Orthodox Primates.
By His All-Holiness
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
To the Assembly of Bishops
(Dallas, September 16-18, 2014)
Venerable brother hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America,
It is deeply moving for us to join you in spirit and in prayer as you commence the deliberations of your meeting.
We assure you of our personal wholehearted prayers and the sincerest wishes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Indeed, all of the Primates of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches look to your Assembly with hope and optimism, recognizing with spiritual joy and pride that you comprise the largest in number and broadest in representation of our Churches. As you gather in Dallas over the next days, remember that – as you sit at the same table, as you share the same discourse, and as you enjoy the same meals – you are visibly and tangibly expressing both the unity and the diversity of our Church.
In light of the Great and Holy Council that, with God’s grace and our cooperation, will convene in the Spring of 2016 – after many decades of preparation and in accordance with the decision of the Primates during our last Synaxis at the Phanar in March of this year – we invite and expect your input and contribution, on the basis of your experience acquired over many years in the United States of America.
We congratulate you on your commitment to express one mind and speak with one voice on the critical social issues of our time. Moreover, we humbly urge you to continue growing in the unity of our common faith and to continue increasing in mutual trust through the mystical cup of the Eucharist.
Our brief greeting is not simply formal or conventional. We are addressing you because the time has surely come for us to move beyond words to actions. We know much better than what we actually do. We are called to put our theory and theology into policy and practice. We are called to move beyond what is “mine” and what is “yours” to what is “ours.” From now on, this is how we should conceive and conduct all of our ministries and resources, all of our departments and initiatives. Otherwise, we do not practice what we preach. It is really up to us to accept the challenge or to refuse the call.
May God bless, keep and guide you in the sacred task to which we have all been ordained and consecrated.
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