Address of Orthodox Representative at Synod

“Our Society Demands of Us Christians a Unified Voice”

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address given Saturday to the synod of bishops by Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis, fraternal delegate from the Orthodox Church of Greece.

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The Orthodox Church of Greece, Church of apostolic origin, fruit of the preaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles in Europe, and daughter of the Mother Church of Constantinople, cordially greets the synod of Catholic bishops on the Word of God and wishes it every success in its deliberations.

Your Holiness,

Into the profound darkness and desperation of the philosophical thought of the ancient world, the “Unknown God” sent humanity his only-begotten Son, who “by the power of the Holy Spirit became incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary and became man … for our salvation.” From that moment history was divided into before Christ and after Christ, the world changed and it was transformed into Church[.] [The] “Magistra” in the path of the Church, sacred Scripture, the Word of God, enlivens in “omni tempore,” genuinely interprets according to Sacred Tradition, every faithful and leads him to the Eucharist, that is to say the personal union with God the Logos.

However, the history of Christianity is full of crimes, sins and errors; the problem of the authentic interpretation of the Word of God always presents itself. The pious intention of leading the people of God to the promised kingdom is not enough! There is a need for the “metanoia” and the “metamorphosis” of our weak hearts.

The Church lives from the font of life that is sacred Scripture. It teaches a secularized Europe and a de-christianized world love for the Creation, which is being threatened, forgiveness and reconciliation for those who begin a new life, respect for every human person made in the image of God, and, further, peace, justice, equality between man and woman, Jew or Greek…

Your Holiness,

Our society is tired and sick! It seeks but does not find! It drinks but its thirst is not quenched! Our society demands of us Christians — Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anglicans — a common witness, a unified voice! Here lies our responsibility as pastors of the Churches in the 21st Century! Here is the primary mission of the First Bishop of Christianity, of him who presides in charity, and, above all, of a Pope who is Magister Theologiae: to be the visible and paternal sign of unity and to lead under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and according to Sacred Tradition, with wisdom, humility and dynamism, together with all the bishops of the world, fellow successors of the apostles, all humanity to Christ the Redeemer!

This is the profound desire of those who have the painful longing in their heart for the undivided Church, “Una, Sancta, Catholica et Apostolica!” But it is also the desire of those who, again today, in a world without Christ, fervently, but also with filial trust and faith, repeat the words of the apostles: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
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