Prior: Thirsting Orphans Need Spiritual Father

Study of Orthodox Tradition Under Way at Ecumenical Monastery

By Inmaculada Álvarez

MAGNANO, Italy, SEPT. 18, 2008 ( Considering that rebellion against the father figure has left new generations orphaned, religious leaders are meeting at an ecumenical monastery to consider spiritual fatherhood in the Orthodox tradition.

The conference at the Monastery of Bose began today and runs through Sunday. It has brought together experts of the academic, cultural and religious world from more than 20 countries.

The congress, titled “Spiritual Fatherhood in the Orthodox Tradition,” is sponsored by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Moscow.

According to the organizers, the objective is to “offer an occasion of fraternal exchange and shared reflection on essential topics of the spiritual life, where the traditions of the Christian East and West address the profound questions of modern man."

Enzo Bianchi, prior and founder of the monastic community of Bose, explained Wednesday on Vatican Radio that the theme of the meeting is arising with force both in the Catholic and the Orthodox Church.

Bianchi contended that “it is a very necessary ministry in ecclesial life, of which today a rebirth is perceived, in the wake of the reaction of preceding generations of ‘rebellion’ against ‘the father.’ Today young people feel the need of someone who is more expert and can accompany them in following the Lord.”

The prior said he agreed with Benedict XVI’s statement in France that the present times “are favorable for a return to God.”

“At this time a real thirst for something that goes beyond the visible and ephemeral is beginning to be felt,” he said. “The new generations have been wounded by this revolution against the ‘father,’ because in some way it has left them orphaned.”

According to Bianchi, young people today “feel the need to return to God, to feel spiritual fatherhood. Let’s not forget that the term with which Jesus called God was in fact ‘Abba,’ ‘Daddy.’ I believe that young people feel this trust as a nostalgia.”

Ecumenical monastery

The Community of Bose was born in 1965. It was founded by its present prior, Enzo Bianchi, as a cenobitic community of men and women of several Christian confessions.

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 has been appointed by Benedict XVI as an expert for the upcoming synod of bishops on the word of God, to be held at the Vatican in October.

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