Revista Studii Teologice


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"Relaţiile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române cu Patriarhia Ecumenică între anii 1960-2010"

The Relationships of the Romanian Orthodox Church with the Ecumenical Patriarchate between 1960-2010

Autor(i): Tarcisius MOVILEANU

In its first part, the paper presents the problems of contemporary society, the state of mankind and the contribution of Orthodoxy in this confused world, estranged from God. The Orthodox Church comprises several autocephalous national Churches, completely independent from each other. This does not mean that Orthodoxy has ceased to constitute a community, to be a unitary ecumenical Church. The long-standing organization of autocephalous churches proves that maintaining Church unity and ecumenicity has been possible under the circumstances of its natural division. The Church is one. It is the mystical body of our Saviour and, just as He cannot be divided, His body cannot be divided either. Its role is not to divide worshippers according to their options, but to unite them all in Christ. The doctrine on the unity of the Church derives from the unity of God, one essence in three Persons, tending towards achieving this unity of the Church. The Orthodox Church wishes that each of the sister Churches should live its own life, with its own language and traditions, thus enjoying unity in diversity.
The second part of the paper provides a chronological presentation of the relationships maintained by the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, between 1960-2010. Starting with patriarch Justinian, we mention his participation in the four pan-Orthodox conferences at Rhodos (1961, 1963 şi 1964) and Geneva (1968), summoned by Athenagoras, as well as the millennium celebrations of the Holy Mount Athos (June 21-26, 1963). In the year 1967, on the anniversary of 450 years since the consecration of Neagoe Basarab’s cathedral, the Ecumenical Patriarchate delegated Chrysostomos of Austria to our country. During the tenure of patriarch Justinian Marina, the Romanian Orthodox Church became a full member of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, at the third general assembly in New-Delhi (November 20, 1961). Ecumenism cannot be separated from ecclesiology, since it presuposes the visible existence of the one and single Church. „One” is not a numerical expression, but a qualitative structure, the structure of unity given by the communion of faith, doctrine, sacraments, worship and canonic discipline. The Ecumenical Council of Churches seeks new ways to bring Churches closer, to establish convergence principles and avoid dissent. The Orthodox Church evinces an ecumenical openness on practical aspects towards all Christians, irrespective of their denomination, however without abandoning or altering its doctrinal treasury. The paper goes on to present the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Romanian Orthodox Church within the ecumenical movement, through participation in ecumenical conferences, whose merit is to further the relationships between Churches, set and maintain their course, the progress towards union. Patriarch Iustin, most likely because of the totalitarian regimes, made only one visit to Constantinople (April 14-17, 1978).
Then followed the most fruitful period in the relationships with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, during the tenure of Patriarch Teoctist. He visited Constantinople between :
May 14-20, 1987 (irenic visit), October 7-9, 1991 (funerals of patriarch Dimitrios I), November 2, 1991 (the enthronement of the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I), March 10-16, 1992 (the first Synaxis of the patriarchs of Orthodox Churches), August 26 – September 2, 1994 (anniversary of 150 years since the establishment of the Faculty of Theology in Halki), September 26-29, 1998 (the re-consecration of St. Paraskevi church, rebuilt in the year 1692 by prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, as well as a visit to the Faculty of Theology on Halki island and the Holy Trinity church), December 23-27, 2000 (upon the assembly of the patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches, to celebrate 2000 since the nativity of Lord Jesus Christ) and May 18-24, 2004 (blessing the beginning of Romanian-language services at St. Paraskevi church in Istanbul). On September 22 – 27, 1995, patriarch Teoctist participated in the celebrations organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Patmos island, on the 1900th anniversary of the Apocalypse book, and between January 4-8, 2000 in the assembly of Orthodox Churches’ patriarchs in Bethlehem, on the aniversary of 2000 years of Christianity.
In response, during patriarch’s Teoctist tenure, the Ecumenical Patriarchate visited Romania:
On November 16, 1986 (upon the enthronement of patriarch Teoctist, being represented by metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra), between September 16-21, 1987 (His Sanctity Dimitrios I returned the irenic visit of patriarch Teoctist), on April 30, 1988 (for an exchange of opinions with the Romanian Patriarchate, before summoning the preparatory pan-Orthodox Committee), between August 12-18, 1994 (His Sanctity Bartholomew I made his first visit to Romania as an ecumenical patriarch), October 21– November 1, 1995 (on the anniversary of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s 110 years of autocephaly and 70 years of patriarchate), October 11-16, 1997 (the feast of St. Paraskevi and celebration of 500 years since the foundation of Neamţ Monastery), October 26-28, 1999 (the feast of St. Demetrius the New, the patron saint of Bucharest), October 10-14, 2000 (the feast of St. Paraskevi), October 15-21, 2004 (the anniversary of 500 years since the death of prince Steven the Great and Holy) and March 4-7, 2005 (celebration of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s 120 years of autocephaly and 80 years of patriarchate, as well as the 90th anniversary of patriarch Teoctist).
The tenure of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel included his irenic visit to Constantinople in May 2009, as well as the response visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on October 26, 2010, on the feast day of Blessed De-metrius the New, the patron saint of Bucharest, as well as the anniversary of 1685 years since the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325), 125 years since the official acknowledgement of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly (1885) and 85 years since its elevation to Patriarchate (1925).
The Romanian Orthodox Church promotes both bilateral and pan-Orthodox relationships with the sister Orthodox churches. Consolidating and developing these fraternal bonds is achieved through mutual visits, participation in assemblies, conferences or pan-Orthodox congresses. The main objective is to strengthen pan-Orthodox unity and improve the moral status of Orthodoxy in the world, so that it can provide aid and its special contribution to solving the problems of contemporary multicultural and multi-denominational society, challenged by secularism.

Pagini: 105-146