Geneva, June 22, 2018
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew offered a homily at Geneva’s Protestant St. Pierre Cathedral on June 17 in honor of the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches in which he called for continuing efforts towards unity, justice, and peace, reports the site of the World Council of Churches (WWC).
The ecumenical service was held in French and English, with hymns and prayers in many languages.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate was one of the founding members of the WCC in 1948, which today unites 350 Protestant, Orthodox, and other churches, representing more than 550 million Christians in more than 120 countries around the world.
As Pat. Bartholomew recalled in his homily, it was the Ecumenical Patriarchate that released an encyclical in 1920 calling for a “League of Churches” on the model of the League of Nations. This vision eventually grew into the WCC.
Pat. Bartholomew opened his homily by quoting the Constitution and Rules of the WCC, which states that the organization “confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek(s) to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
“We celebrate a long common pilgrimage on the path to unity, Christian witness, and the commitment to justice, peace, and the preservation of creation,” the patriarch said during his homily, praising the WCC’s efforts to face the relevant challenges of the day.
He also urged dialogue, patience and openness to overcome differences and difficulties that had arisen since the WCC was founded.
“This activity in the world must be based on our shared prototype of the new man in Christ – an ecclesial experience and vocation that the faithful must live out. Thus, by words and deeds, in ways visible and invisible, the World Council of Churches must proclaim through its witness Christ, and Christ alone,” the patriarch emphasized.
Before he became Ecumenical Patriarch in 1991, His All-Holiness served on the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission and as a member of the WCC’s central and executive committees. He also studied at the WCC’s Ecumenical Institute in Bossey near Geneva.
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