The Halki summit devoted to ecology and theological, educational and ecumenical perspectives concludes on Saturday June 11 in Istanbul. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Italian University Institute Sophia, managed by the Focolare Movement, are the organizers.
Adriana Masotti – Vatican City
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis represent a united approach and a prophetic voice on the inseparable relationship between the sustainability of the planet and the salvation of the world, between the protection of the environment and the realization of universal brotherhood. Thanks to their constant reminders, the awareness of the Catholic and Orthodox communities has grown, giving rise to common actions and reflections. Witness the 5th Halki Summit, which opened on June 9 in Istanbul, jointly organized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Sophia Catholic University Institute.
Pope’s message to participants
Catholic and Orthodox students and teachers from all continents participate. On behalf of the Holy See, Bishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, from the Dicastery for Culture and Education, was present. Signed by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, a message from Pope Francis reached the participants, in which he said to himself “delighted with the holding of this conference“. “As our common home faces the continuing effects of climate change, which threaten our most vulnerable brothers and sisters in particular, His Holiness prays for an ever-greater ecumenical response to the call to be good stewards of the gift of God’s creation inspires many to commit themselves to this end for the sake of future generations“, is it indicated in the missive of the Sovereign Pontiff.
Thanksgiving and consumerist asceticism
The summit was opened by addresses from the Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, Msgr. Marek Solczynski, the Rector of Sophia University, Giuseppe Argiolas, and Margaret Karram, President of the Focolare Movement and Vice-Chancellor of the University Institute based in Loppiano. The opening address was then delivered by Patriarch Bartholomew, who emphasized two words from the summit theme: “future” and “together“. The first recalls the strong intergenerational bond inherent in respect for the environment; the second, the essential interdisciplinary approach to be adopted in the face of the immensity and complexity of ecological problems. “It becomes evident, said the patriarch, that only a cooperative and collective response from religious leaders, scientists, political authorities, educational institutions and financial organizations will be able to effectively address these vital issues of our time“.
Bartholomew then took up two central concepts of Orthodox theology and spirituality: the Eucharist in the sense of thanksgiving for the gift of creation, and asceticism, that is to say self-control, consumer passions. The patriarch invited to consider these concepts also as different ways of speaking about communion. “It is here that the vision of our brother Pope Francis, he said, coincides with the vision of the world that we have been proposing and promulgating for more than thirty years“.
“Everything is connected”
“Everything is connected”, the bishop of Rome often recalls, noted the patriarch, explaining: “Connections between us and all of God’s creation, between our faith and our action, between our theology and our spirituality, between what we say and what we do; between science and religion, between our beliefs and each discipline; between our sacramental communion and our social conscience; between our generation and future generations, between our two Churches, but also with other Churches and other communities of faith”.
Theological and Educational Perspectives
The work of this ecumenical summit covered topics such as “The Roots of the Ecological Crisis,” “The Commitment to Creation as a Common Home: Global and Political Perspectives“. On June 10, the summit continued on the Greek island of Halki, about an hour by boat from the coast of Istanbul, to the Greek Orthodox monastery, dating from the 9th century, once the seat of the principal school of theology of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, now used for conferences. This Saturday, June 11, conferences by researchers and experts are taking place on the following topics: “The Creator’s Footprint in Creation: Theological and Spiritual Perspectives» or “The Holy See and the Ecumenical Patriarchate: Ecumenical Perspectives”.