There is growing interest in Martin Luther in the Orthodox Church says Ecumenical Patriarch

Moscow, June 9, 2017

Photo: The Tablet Photo: The Tablet
The Orthodox Church has been taking an active and increasing interest in the person and works of Martin Luther lately, according to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Constantinopolitan primate expressed this opinion during a speech at Germany's Tübingen University on May 30, the day after receiving an honorary doctorate for his work in promoting the Orthodox-Protestant dialogue, as part of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, reports the Catholic news agency The Tablet.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople entered into a bilateral theological dialogue with the Evangelical Church of Germany in 1969.

As previously reported, during his own visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople in September 2016, Heinrich Bedford-Strom, Chairman of the Council of German Evangelical Churches, told His All-Holiness that “it would be a special honor” if the patriarch would attend the celebrations in Wittenberg and Tübingen.

The patriarch accepted, and arrived in Stuttgart on Sunday, May 28, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Evangelical Theology and History Department in Tübingen the next day. He was also presented with the German translation of his book Encountering the Mystery, and attended a two-day symposium on Evangelical and Orthodox theology.

In his speech, His All-Holiness stated that interesting is growing in the Orthodox Church particularly in Luther’s concept of freedom, which he views as of “epochal significance.” Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes this new direction of investigation, as Luther’s ideas on freedom were a turning point in the history of the understanding of freedom, and are therefore very important for Christianity’s engagement with the modern world that bears a notion of self-centered freedom, which ultimately leads to self-isolation and which is far removed from the Christian understanding of freedom as a gift of God.

The teaching of Luther, who, conversely, Romanian elder Cleopa (Ilie) referred to as “the second Arius,” is thus very important for Orthodox Churches, he stated, as their belated dialogue with the modern world is now “in full swing.”

The Patriarch also spoke often about the fruits of the contemporary dialogue, reports the site of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, emphasizing, among other things, that Eucharistic ecclesiology has opened up new ways of discussing ecclesiological issues, noting that the term “theosis” is now approached positively by many Lutheran theologians.

“He stressed that the intercultural dialogue must continue and that many of its positive effects in the past must be made known, and not neglected, but stressed the need for theological scholars to become new, dynamic theologians with a spirit of dialogue and with an ecumenical orientation,” the patriarchate reports.


Peter Knelson11/27/2018 10:25 pm
Again i dont think you can pretend to believe on the Christ out of your own power, it is a rather foolish thing to say that the western world does not believe on Christ when the clearly show that they do. Lutherans have to be respected because they know the word of God by and through the Holy Spirit. You can call yourself Orthodox all day long but are you trully Orthodox? I question that.
Roger G. Fennell6/14/2017 2:23 am
Dr. Kambites, As a Roman Catholic, I do believe and accept both the Divinity and the humanity of Jesus Christ. Roger Fennell, MD
Alan6/13/2017 12:57 am
Ecumenism is leading the faithful astray. The Orthodox-Lutheran-Protestant dialogue is the language Of the Tower of Babel.
Let's stick to orthodox Orthodoxy and stop this modern foolishness to accommodate heretics.
Will Harrington6/12/2017 11:03 pm
It seems that many are taking something from this article something that wasn't there, that the the EP is seeking Orthodox Lutheran union or co-operation, when he clearly states that we must understand Luther because he is part of the foundation of modernism and Orthodoxy does not know enough about modernism to be able to engage with its followers. If you want to spread Orthodoxy, you will need to be able to understand modernism. There is nothing wrong with what he is saying, but he is wrong. The Orthodox Church contains many members who understand modernism very well in Western Europe, North America, and Australia. Too frequently, I think, we are treated as infants by Older jurisdictions when they have much to learn from us, just as we do from them.
T.D.6/12/2017 8:21 pm
I agree that Lutheranism is western heresy, but it was necessary to free our Fatherlands in Northern Europe from the Hapsburg puppets and Spanish boot lickers. It also aided Orthodoxy by detroying Catholicism in the former recruiting lands of the Teutonic invaders.

Their heresies stem from a false logic along the lines of saying "Hitler was evil; he was also a vegetarian. Therefore, vegitarianism is also evil."
George6/12/2017 11:08 am
Luther did some good things in protesting against several real abuses in the Roman Church. Luther also criticized the rapacity of the international parasites (See his book On the Hebrews and their Lies). Luther can be commended from a political point of view. His struggle has been regarded by many as noble, but his theology is no doubt in error. In any case, his struggle was not with the Orthodox, but he rejected many Orthodox doctrines along with the Roman, to arrive at a novelty, which is not what the 1st century Church believed. He was certainly a heretic, and led many into error.
Emile Hesta6/11/2017 3:05 pm
As a simple layman,converted to orthodoxy from roman catholicism,I say:there is nothing to celebrate about a"Luther year 2017"!Not a all!
Thank you,father,to remember the orthodox truth,compromising orthodoxy with heterodoxy is impossible.Nothing can be at the same time right and wrong.
Luther's legacy was division and hostility between christians,more than ever before!And on political matters:wars(as the"Thirty Years War",for ex.),misery and dead.
Division and hatred is never and can never be the work of our God,but is coming from the devil.
Antonio Arganda6/10/2017 10:35 pm
The EP is a dead institution. It is infested with US State Department flunkies and wants to sell the Orthodox Church to the highest bidder.
Gerasimos Kambites M.Div., M.D. FRCPC., LMCC6/10/2017 4:32 pm
The Patriarch of Constantinople lives under terrible conditions of oppression, but he does not read or understand history. Luther, Calvin, Rome are not heretical because today is tuesday and this is Berlin! They are heretical because they have left the "true teachings of Christ, especially his full divinity and full humanitiy. No one cares if the protestant like they word theosis- this is bullroar! How can we say "oh we've made progress when they deny the Most Holy Theotokos, when they deny that Holy Communion is Holy Communion... is there any proof that Bartholomew is a freemason?
jv6/10/2017 3:51 pm
Wheres the patriarch taking all of this.
is he trying to win over them to orthodox by trying to be open by using dialogue ?

or is he simply trying to almagamate all "Christian" churches under 1 (single) or 2 "headed" church authority ?

I believe the canons forbid such intercooperation of "sharing" faith between hetero-orthodox members.
Deacon Finbarr Bandt-Sørheim6/10/2017 3:48 pm
Growing interest in Luther? The patriarch must be speaking for himself! The councils and holy fathers are not prescriptive for our faith but merely descriptive of how the faith was sometimes held in times past, but we now are more enlightened. Maybe the patriarch should just stay in Germany.
Anthony6/10/2017 12:41 pm
Defrock. Boot. Now.
Archpriest John W. Morris6/9/2017 9:01 pm
The Ecumenical Patriarch is completely wrong. Martin Luther was not in favor of human freedom. The opposite is true. He adhered to a very Augustinian view of original sin that included belief in total depravity and a complete rejection of human freedom. He rejected the idea that we can cooperate (synergize) with God for our salvation. On political matters, he sided with the nobility during the peasants revolt. The state Lutheran Churches of Europe as well as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the US all ordain women and bless same sex unions. Therefore, there is really no future for Orthodox Lutheran cooperation, much less union.
Archpriest John W. Morris6/9/2017 8:37 pm
The state Lutheran Churches of Europe as well as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the US all ordain women and bless same sex unions. Therefore, there is really no future for Orthodox Lutheran cooperation, much less union. I find it incredible that the Ecumenical Patriarch could speak of Luther as favoring human freedom. The exact opposite it true, Luther denied human freedom. Luther taught an Augustinian doctrine of original sin and with it deny human freedom and the possibility that we can cooperate with God for our salvation.Here in the US the Lutherans suspended dialogue with the Orthodox because the Orthodox were unwilling to compromise our beliefs for the sake of union with them. Therefore, the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Germany is just show because there is no possibility of Lutheran Orthodox union.
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