08:38 - KEK ASSEMBLY: BARTHOLOMEW I PROPOSES A CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN CHURCHES
(Lyons) Only by dialoguing and cooperating very closely will the Churches be able to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the world in a convincing and effective way. These words opened in Lyons, yesterday afternoon, the much-awaited speech of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in the Auditorium of the Congress Centre, where over 750 delegates from 126 Christian Churches (Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic ones) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Kek (1959). In his speech, the Patriarch addressed the future of the ecumenical movement in Europe. In this respect - he said -, we would like to point out that cooperation between Kek and the Council of European Bishops Conferences has been essential and productive. To improve such ecumenical work, we propose that such cooperation between these two organisations should be organised and structured better. The Catholic Church is not a member of Kek, although it has close relations with it. The two European organisations have co-promoted initiatives and important ecumenical events in Europe. Considering the possibility for Ccee to join the Kek - the Patriarch admitted - would involve preliminary work and amendments to the regulations. (continued)
08:39 - KEK ASSEMBLY: BARTHOLOMEW I PROPOSES A CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN CHURCHES (2)
However - Bartholomew I went on -, we believe that a Conference of all, and I insist on the ‘all, the European Churches may respond better and consistently to the sacred commandment of restoring ecclesial communion and serving contemporary man, who is facing a multitude of complex problems. Then, speaking to the archbishop of Lyons, Philippe Barbarin, who was sitting in the front row in the auditorium of Lyons, Bartholomew said: I ask this in particular of card. Barbarin, so that he can ask the people concerned. In resuming his speech, the Patriarch pointed out that only by implementing a close cooperation between the Churches, will dialogue between the European Churches and the European institutions and the European Union be more effectively promoted. The future of the new Europe that is being built, without the Christian spiritual values, said the Patriarch, promises to be sad and uncertain. Christians, Jews and Muslims have been dialoguing for some years now for the promotion of peace and for reconciliation. Everybody is desperately looking for hope. Thats why no retreat would be justified. On the contrary, cooperation between our Churches as well as cooperation with the European leaders in charge of politics, economics and social welfare is not just necessary, it is an imperative.