Balancing Me and We: Drawing on Christian Wisdom

Orthodox Symposium to Study Communion and Solitude

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MAGNANO, Italy, SEPT. 6, 2010 ( The strain between the individual and the collective can often be a source of conflict, but the Christian tradition offers insight into these polar opposites, which are actually vital dimensions of the spiritual life.

This is the observation underpinning the 18th International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality, which runs Wednesday through Saturday.

The annual conference is held at the Bose Monastic Community, located outside Magnano.

With the theme «communion and solitude,» the symposium «wishes to rediscover the fertile relation of these two poles that constitute human living,» organizers explain. «The monastic experience is called to be a synthesis and irradiation of the spiritual dynamics between communion and solitude.»

Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will represent the Catholic Church, along with three other members of that dicastery. The apostolic nuncio in Russia, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, will also participate, as will the retired prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini; and the president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Conferences, Archbishop Piero Marini.

Seeking unity

The Bose community began in 1965, and is formed by members of different Churches and Christian confessions. Presently, about 80 members are part of the community, men and women. Several brothers and sisters are members of Reformed churches, five brothers are priests, and one is a Reformed pastor.

The community was founded by its present prior, Enzo Bianchi, and the brethren live in celibacy and prayer and are dedicated to manual work. They labor especially in the fields, in the making of icons, and in the study of sacred Scripture.

Bianchi was appointed by Benedict XVI an expert for the 2008 synod of bishops on the Word of God.

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