BY SYNODAL FATHER
— H. Em.R. Card. Walter KASPER, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (VATICAN CITY)
Despite all the sad divisions in the history of the Church, the Word of God witnessed above all in the Holy Scripture has remained the common inheritance even today; nothing else unites the Christian churches and communities like the Bible does. It is truly the ecumenical bond par excellence. Therefore, the Bible is the basis of ecumenical dialogue and the main instrument of ecumenical dialogue from the doctrinal as well as the spiritual and pastoral aspects. The common Lectio divina is therefore the privileged ecumenical method. This dialogue has been very fruitful in the last decades.
As Christians we cannot only look at the abuses. First, we must be thankful for all that the Spirit of God has done to bring Christians closer together, which is not a small thing. We are thankful and encourage the ecumenical work, which according to Vatican Council II is an impulse of the Spirit and – as we hope – the building site of the future Church.[Original text: Italian]
BY FRATERNAL DELEGATE
— H.G. Rade Sladojević FOTIJE, Bishop of Dalmazia (CROATIA)
St. John Chrysostom, great and spirit-bearing interpreter of the Holy Scripture, commented and interpreted almost all Books of the Old Testament, as well as of the New Testament. He says: “Holy Scripture is a way and who gets off it, he goes astray.” Furthermore, trying to reach its deeper meaning, he says: “The Prophets and Divine Law were nothing but fairy tales and dummy stories for the rich man (Lk. 16: 19), but when he moved down to hell, he realized everything.” Interpreting the Books of the Old and the New Testament, many Church Fathers underlined the baleful phenomenon of academic understanding of divine Law, faith and the Holy Scripture. Such knowledge neither brings man to God in ancient times, nor does it today. Academic understanding of words and spirit of the Holy Scripture keeps the faith of people on “their lips” (Mk. 7: 6), while in their hearts there is no place for God “to lay His head” (Lk. 9: 58). What this modern world indispensably need are truthful witnesses (martyrs) of the Holy Scripture, whose lives witness the reality of the Holy Scripture.
Following the Orthodox Tradition, interpretation of the Holy Scripture has always been based on inspired patristic teachings. God raised Church fathers in this world to be “the light of the world” and “a city set on a hill” (Mt. 5: 14); their god-inspired explanations of the Holy Scripture reveal the most profound mystery of Faith “into which even angels long to look” (1. Pet. l: 12). The gospel parable of the sower (Mt. 13: 18) illustrates “the tragedy of human freedom”. Freedom is an immense Divine gift, that every man can abuse, and instead of life in that God-given freedom (like, for example, Adam’s life), he voluntary becomes “a slave to sin” (Jn. 8: 34). The Church must always remember the words of St. Apostle Paul (1. Cor. 9: 16): “Woe to me”, and to all of us, “if I do not preach” the Word of God, i.e. the Holy Scripture, irrespective of one will accept it or not. According to St. Symeon the New Theologian, the Holy Scripture is a written Living word of the Living God, which is “salt and light of the world” (Mt. 5: 14). The most profound internal and spiritual meaning of the Holy Scripture is being revealed in its fullness through the life and Holy Liturgy. Being the Kingdom of God that is to come, the Holy Liturgy, according to the words of our Lord, is something that we have “to seek first”, and all other “things shall be our as well” (Mt. 6: 33). The Holy Scripture reveals that salvific dialogue between God and man and man and God, as the Blessed Augustine says: “Through prayer we talk with God, but in the Holy Scripture God talks with us.”[Original text: English]