Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Presides Over Ninth Annual Prayer Service for the U.N. Community
Oct 27, 2009
NEW YORK – Last evening, Monday, October 26, His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Ninth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral, the traditional site when the service is hosted by an Eastern Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch was accompanied to the Service by Metropolitan Geron Athanasios of Chalcedon, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea, and clergy and lay leaders of the Church of Constantinople.
This Service is sponsored annually by the Joint Commission of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches of America (SCOOCH).
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed His All Holiness and the assembled Hierarchs, Clergy, Ambassadors and Dignitaries of the UN Diplomatic Corps and laity to the Cathedral, which was filled to overflowing. Over 70 clergy of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches were in attendance. The Choir of St. Vladimir’s Seminary provided the processional and recessional hymns, while the Choir of Holy Cross Seminary chanted a traditional Vespers Service in English.
Archbishop Demetrios led the Members of the SCOBA, including Bishop Antoun representing the Antiochian Archdiocese, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Archdiocese, Metropolitan Christopher of the Serbian Archdiocese, Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA, Bishop Ilia of the Albanian Diocese and Archpriest Alexander Abramov of the Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA. The Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as well as other Hierarchs were also in attendance.
His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church and Chairman of SCOOCH led the following Hierarchs of the SCOOCH delegation: Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Zecharius of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldho of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Ambassador to the UN for the Vatican, led a very large showing of the UN diplomatic corps, which included the Ambassadors of Orthodox countries and those countries where the families of the Christian Churches represented by SCOBA and SCOOCH exist locally.
Greetings from Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon were delivered by Under-Secretary-General Vijay Nambiar, Chef de Cabinet, with special words of welcome to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The address was delivered by the President of the Brookings Institution, former Deputy Sceretary of State Strobe Talbott. In his remarks, Talbott highlighted the pioneering work of His All Holiness for ecological responsibility in the faith community. He also commented on the recently concluded work of the Eighth Religion, Science and Environment Symposium that His All Holiness convened last week in New Orleans on behalf of the Mississippi River.
In his response, His All Holiness stressed both environmental responsibility and dedication to religious freedom that are integral to the message of the Gospel. He also spoke of service to the world:
[W]e Orthodox Christians are called to offer service to humanity without expectation of anything in return, and also, to be examples for others to do the same. Christ tells us to do good, to practice virtue, to practice virtuous works, to love our enemies—not just to love our friends. Christ also calls us to be teachers and guides through example, to serve God’s created order—whether we serve as priest or lay person or diplomat.
In concluding his remarks, His All Holiness noted the progress made in the process of unity between the Christian families of Churches:
The theological dialogue between our two Christian families – that is the Orthodox Church and the Ancient Oriental Churches, has formally ended the misunderstandings of the past. It is not theology that divides us. Rather, we are united in our commitment to address the pastoral, liturgical and ecclesiastical issues on which we may ever build our unity in Christ more and more. The dialogue must continue, and we must continue to seek opportunities for mutual exchange. As our knowledge grows, our love will grow as well.
After the Service concluded, a reception for over 600 was held in the Social Hall of the Cathedral.
More information about His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the environmental work of the Church and the Apostolic Visit to the United States may be found at:
www.usvisit2009.org and www.patriarchate.org.
Contact: Stavros Papagermanos
Tel.: (212) 570-3530 or (718) 415-5850