Dialogika

Orthodox Churches

Greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Third Academic Meeting between Orthodoxy and Judaism

 

From the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

 


Continuity and Renewal

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland, Exarch of Europe, dear brother in the Holy Spirit, concelebrant of our humble person, the grace and peace of God be with you.

We gladly respond to your letter of March 10, 1993, in which you ask us to address a message from the Mother Church, the Holy Great Church of Christ, to the participants of the Third Academic Meeting between Orthodoxy and Judaism, who have come together from all corners of the world in order 10 examine the relations between Christian Orthodoxy and Judaism. From the holy center of Orthodoxy, we address all the participants with this paternal greeting, the biblical greeting par excellence: "Peace be among you!"

This greeting reminds us of the multitude of common elements and characteristics, between Christians and Jews, and above all, of the fact that both these living traditions of faith have their roots in the same biblical ground.

This common spiritual origin of Christians and Jews seems today, more than ever, to offer a fruitful ground toward the rejection of the consequences of mutual prevailing hostility during the past and the establishment of a new relationship between them, genuine and authentic, rooted in the willingness to work toward mutual understanding and improved knowledge of each other.

Today's favorable circumstances for easier communication and mutual rapprochement of people as well as for the success of this task, are even more favorable in the special context of Eastern Orthodoxy, which has always believed and confessed the irreplacable value of the human person and the equality of all human beings created by God. Therefore, Eastern Orthodoxy has never encouraged racist  ideas  and theories,  and  has  never  practically experienced those negative historical phenomena, observed elsewhere, such as racial   discrimination, social marginalisation and isolation, proselytism, persecution and genocide of people who belonged to a different culture or worshiped God in a different manner.

Quite the contrary, the corroborated moving expressions of solidarity and support, shown in the past and also recently, towards the Jews living in this geographical area and suffering diverse persecutions, rather reinforce the hope that this God-pleasing task will beat fruit in the framework of a new and constructive rapprochement of Orthodox Christians and Jews living together under the same sky and in the same world.

Thus, approaching each other in this positive fashion, devoid of negative inherited elements, Orthodox Christians and Jews can in a brotherly way exchange their rich experiences, particularly in the area of biblical studies, the teaching concerning tradition, the theology of the person, spirituality, etc. and further define the boundaries and the limits of their possible collaboration in the world where faith in God is more and more threatened.

Today, more than ever before, those who believe in God, most especially the members of the same spiritual family, are called to offer together, and in dialogue, the rich witness of their traditions in the urgently necessary quest for better solutions 10 the great and serious problems which we face, concerning the collapse of moral and spiritual values in general, and, in particular, the violation of the value of the human person, the unique and incomparable image of God.

With these thoughts on the occasion of this present meeting, we wholeheartedly wish from the Ecumenical Patriarchate that the work of the Third Academic Meeting between Orthodoxy andJudaism be crowned with complete success and become the beginning of a series of fruitful encounters toward the establishment and consolidation of the dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Jews and thus to respond more effectively to the anguished aspirations of contemporary humanity, which impatiently awaits a life-giving breath from a renewed contemporary religious discourse.

The grace and infinite mercy of God be with your Eminence and with all the participants of this academic meeting.