A Short Dialogue on Ecumenism


Note: The text below was written in response to questions addressed to me over a year ago, by Rev. Dorin Druhora (now Rev. Dr. Druhora), from Los Angeles, US, while he was doing his doctoral research on Evangelical-Orthodox relations in the USA. In the mean time he has successfully defended his thesis and I will publish soon some details about it.

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  1. Please define the uniqueness of the ecumenical dialogue here on the North American continent, in contrast with the dialogue in Europe or elsewhere? Do you see a paradigm that is specific to western culture (particularly in US, in the context of a pluralist Christian tradition or in the light of the dialogical development)? If your expertise is focused more on Europe, please address the question based on your experience.

DM – Although I never lived in the US, I traveled extensively there and I follow constantly the religious landscape there. Ecumenism is well and alive in the US. Yet, it involved more the Catholics and the mainline Protestants. Many of the American evangelical leaders do not strike me as very open ecumenically. That is true especially with the neo-reformed movement (the likes of Piper and Mohler), which is the new form of fundamentalism. However, there is a lot to appreciate also. Continue reading “A Short Dialogue on Ecumenism”


Opportunity for academic study in Ecumenics | Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

Opportunity for academic study in Ecumenics | Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative.

WCC Statement on Gaza


22 July 2014

The World Council of Churches is deeply saddened and gravely concerned by the continued escalation of the military operations in Gaza, human devastation on every side, and the disproportionately high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, including women and children.

As well as the Israeli strikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the Council condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets by Hamas and  the positioning of rocket launchers in close proximity to civilian populations.

The Council appeals to all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. The indiscriminate and disproportionate killing of civilians in the context of an armed conflict is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law. Continue reading “WCC Statement on Gaza”

Malkhaz Songulashvili – Tales of Canterbury – 5 – Unpleasant Surprises (UPDATE)

Orthodox delegates at Canterburry
Orthodox delegates, with Russian Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, at Canterburry
(Rev. Patrick Irwin, Priest of the Anglican Church in Bucharest is also in this picture)

I loved every minute I spent in the crypt but it would be dishonest of me if I do not tell you of a couple of rather unpleasant experiences as well. They did not necessarily cast any shadow over the atmosphere in the crypt, but reminded me that we still live in the world which is divided and politicised.

This is the first nasty tale of my time in the crypt. The Russian delegation arrived in the crypt a little bit late. By that time I was already robed and ready for the procession. The Russian delegation was led by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev whom I had known from my early visit to Oxford in 1990s. He was a doctoral student and we ate together at Tamara Grdzelidze’s place who was also a doctoral student from Georgia. Both Tamara and Hilarion were Metropolitan Kallistos’s students. Since that time Hilarion has became a leading hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church and I had became the Archbishop of the Georgia EBC.

Our relationship had changed. The Russian invasion of Georgia made us political enemies. Hilarion had avoided contact and talks with me at every European ecumenical gathering. Despite this I decided to go and greet him as warmly as I could. Now in the presence of all the clergy from the rest of world I was embarrassed by him. I greeted him in Russian and Georgian (he knows some Georgian) and gave him a fraternal embrace. He stood back with an ossified face. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Tales of Canterbury – 5 – Unpleasant Surprises (UPDATE)”

The Changing Face of Mission

A History of the Commission and Conferences for World Mission and Evangelism. The video takes the viewer through some highlights of Christian mission from the incarnation of the International Missionary Council (IMC) in 1921 to the formation of the Commission for World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) in 1961 through its integration with the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Message from WCC Executive Committee to the Churches in Syria

We, the members of the executive committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting from 14 to 17 February 2012 in Bossey, Switzerland, greet you in the name of the Triune God who dwells among the people to inspire us with hope for peace with justice.

As we are participating in the meeting of the executive committee of the WCC, we take this opportunity to assure the churches, Christians in Syria and the entire Syrian people of our prayers that peace and reconciliation may soon prevail in your country. While we pray, we are reminded that Syria is the land from whence St. Paul spread the Good News of love, peace and justice to the world. Continue reading “Message from WCC Executive Committee to the Churches in Syria”

Could “Arab spring” turn into “Christian winter”?

A WCC interview with David Victor R. Youssef, from the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services.

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Churches in Egypt are praying and helping migrants, who flee home due to political turmoil, violence and uncertain future. There is a great need to develop stable democratic societies if the “Arab spring” is to bear fruits. Or else it might turn into an “Arab winter” with religious minorities at the risk of persecution.

David Victor R. Youssef expressed this concern at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Global Ecumenical Network on Migration meeting taking place in Beirut, Lebanon from 5-7 December, organized by the WCC office for Just and Inclusive Communities and hosted by the Middle East Council of Churches.

Youssef works for the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services and was interviewed by Naveen Qayyum, the WCC staff writer. Continue reading “Could “Arab spring” turn into “Christian winter”?”

WCC expresses concern over human trafficking in Sinai Desert

During the past year thousands of people from North Africa have disappeared in the Sinai Desert region while crossing the border between Egypt and Israel.

“Falling prey to human traffickers, employment scams, harassment, organ thefts and forced deportations, these people face one of the worst human rights violations,” says Fr Mussie Zerai.

Zerai is a Roman Catholic priest from Eritrea, based in Vatican, and spoke recently in a meeting at the World Council of Churches (WCC) offices in Geneva organized by WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

He is the founder of Agenzia Habeshia, a charity for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

“Churches have been the voice of the voiceless. The ecumenical family has a great responsibility to be engaged in global advocacy on behalf of these people, as their rights are being violated,” said Zerai. Continue reading “WCC expresses concern over human trafficking in Sinai Desert”

WCC starts Global Theological Education Survey

WCC starts Global Theological Education Survey.

Participate in survey: the Global Survey on Theological Education

Marturia crestina intr-o lume multireligioasa – Recomandari de conduita – draft – 3


A Treia Conferință organizată de Consiliul Mondial al Bisericilor, cu sprijinul Alianţei Evanghelice Mondiale (WEA), şi de către PCID al Sfântului Scaun, cu participare din partea celor mai numeroase familii de credinţă creştină (catolică, ortodoxă, protestantă, evanghelică şi penticostală), acţionând într-un spirit de cooperare ecumenică, pentru a pregăti acest document în vederea examinării sale de către biserici, organisme confesionale naţionale şi regionale, şi organizaţii de misiune, în special cele care lucrează în context interreligios, recomandă ca aceste organisme:

1. Să studieze chestiunile menţionate în acest document şi, acolo unde este cazul, să formuleze orientări de comportament aplicabile în practica mărturiei creştine într-un context specific. Acolo unde este posibil, acest lucru trebuie făcut într-un spirit ecumenic şi cu consultarea reprezentanţilor altor religii.

2. Să construiască relaţii bazate pe respect şi încredere cu oameni din toate religiile, mai ales la nivel instituţional între biserici şi între alte comunităţi religioase, angajându-se într-un dialog interreligios necontenit, ca parte integrantă a angajării lor creştine. În anumite contexte, unde o perioadă de tensiune şi conflict a creat suspiciuni adânci şi au subminat încrederea dintre şi în interiorul comunităţilor, dialogul interreligios poate oferi noi posibilităţi de soluţionare a conflictelor, restabilind dreptatea, vindecarea memoriei dureroase, reconcilierea şi instituirea păcii. Continue reading “Marturia crestina intr-o lume multireligioasa – Recomandari de conduita – draft – 3”

The Cross as a Sign of Reformation and Unity

(Source, WCC)

Keynote Address on the 175th Anniversary of the Reformation of the Mar Thoma Church

20 August 2011

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary


Your Eminence Most Rev. Dr Philipose Mar Chrisostem Valiaya Metropolitan,
Your Eminence Most Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan,
Honorable Bishops, Clergy,
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

1.    I bring greetings to you from the World Council of Churches. I greet you on behalf of the millions of Christian brothers and sisters who belong to the 349 member churches of the WCC in more than 100 countries across the world.

I am truly delighted to be here with you this afternoon and it is a great joy to visit your country, especially this beautiful land Kerala which you call “God’s own country”. Moreover, it is a great joy and privilege for me to be at this historic event of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the Reformation in the Malankara Church. This is my first visit to India, and this is a marvelous occasion to come to India and to this particular part of the country. Continue reading “The Cross as a Sign of Reformation and Unity”

Marturia crestina intr-o lume multireligioasa – Recomandari de conduita – draft – 2


Creştinii sunt chemați să respecte următoarele principii în încercarea lor de a împlini așa cum se cuvine misiunea încredințată lor de Cristos, în special în contexte interreligioase.

1. Umblarea în dragostea lui Dumnezeu. Creştinii cred că Dumnezeu este sursa iubirii şi, în consecinţă, mărturisind despre el, ei sunt chemaţi să trăiască o viaţă plină de dragoste şi să-şi iubească aproapele ca pe ei înșiși (cf. Matei 22:34-40; Ioan 14:15).

2. Imitarea lui Isus Cristos. În toate aspectele vieţii, şi mai ales în cele privitoare la mărturia lor, creştinii sunt chemaţi să urmeze exemplul şi învăţăturile lui Isus Cristos, împărtăşind dragostea sa, dând slavă şi cinste lui Dumnezeu Tatăl, prin puterea Duhului Sfânt (cf. Ioan 20: 21-23). Continue reading “Marturia crestina intr-o lume multireligioasa – Recomandari de conduita – draft – 2”

Marturia crestina intr-o lume multireligioasa – Recomandari de conduita – draft – 1

Asa cum anuntam AICI pe blogul Persona, pe 28 iunie a avut loc la Geneva ceremonia oficiala de prezentare a unui document ecumenic cu o valoare exceptionala, care intentioneaza sa  ofere o solida platforma etica marturiei noastre despre Evanghelie, la care ne cheama Mintuitorul nostru Isus Cristos.

Am tradus acest document, prin bunavointa colegului meu Dr. Alexandru Nadaban si il voi publica aici, in citeva episoade, alaturi de textul englezesc, pentru a oferi o ultima sansa de corectare a oricarei imperfectiuni de traducere sau editare, inainte de a-l distribui liderilor confesionali si ai organizatiilor crestine, misionare au de caritate, din Romania.

Speram din toata inima ca prin cunoasterea, studierea si asumarea plenara a acestor principii sa vedem o asanare a relatiilor destul de tensionate dintre diversele confesiuni si misiuni din Romania, pe tema prozelitismului si a marturiei crestine.

Ii rog, pe aceasta cale, pe toti cei care cred in importanta acestui document si au expertiza in acest domeniu, sa ne dea o mina de ajutor in imbunatatirea acestui text. Va multumim anticipat. Continue reading “Marturia crestina intr-o lume multireligioasa – Recomandari de conduita – draft – 1”

Christians and churches encouraged to continue working on common date for Easter


The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has urged Christians to give this year’s celebration of Easter a clear ecumenical profile and to work for a common date of Easter for the future, noting that this year it falls on the same day 24 April for both eastern and western traditions.

“In a world divided by poverty and violence, it is important that we are one in our witness to the crucified and risen Christ in actions as well as in words,” said Tveit.”We rejoice that this year Christians of eastern and western traditions will celebrate the resurrection of the Lord on the same date.”

Because the date of Easter is calculated using either the Julian calendar used by most Orthodox churches, or the Gregorian calendar, Christians of eastern and western traditions often celebrate Easter on different Sundays. Continue reading “Christians and churches encouraged to continue working on common date for Easter”

Message for the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Armenian Genocide Memorial, Yerevan, Armenia

Easter, the glorious Day of Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, falls this year on April 24 which coincides with Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. For the first time since 1915 April 24 falls on Easter Sunday in the Armenian church calendar.  It is truly a meaningful coincidence, as the existence of the Armenian nation and people itself is a special sign of the power of the resurrection in a world of death.  When Christians all over the world celebrate Easter on the same date this year, it will be an historic opportunity for all of us to pay tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. Continue reading “Message for the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day”

Sermon for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

It is a joy, and it is also our duty, to come together to pray for the unity of the church. We are delighted to welcome the churches of Geneva to this service of worship and celebration in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre.

There is an experience of fellowship which teaches us unity.
There is a humility in prayer which opens up the way for peace.
There is a simplicity in sharing which brings about reconciliation.
There is an openness in learning which brings about change.
There is a joy in breaking bread which brings about justice.

The churches in today’s Jerusalem invite Christians throughout the world to read, reflect and pray on this challenging and beautiful passage from the Acts of the Apostles. Continue reading “Sermon for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit”

Saptamina de rugaciune pentru unitatea crestinilor – 18-25 ianuarie

Marti 18 ianuarie incepe a 102 saptamina de rugaciune pentru unitatea Bisericii. Traditia, inceputa in 1908, este cotinuata prin colaborarea intre Consiliul Pontifical pentru Promovarea Unitatii Crestinilor si Comisia Credinta si Constitutie a Consiliului Ecumenic al Bisericilor.

Voi publica pe blog in zilele care urmeaza, cu permisiune, textele ghidului pentru aceasta saptamina de rugaciune, asa cum au fost ele adaptate pentru Romania. Continue reading “Saptamina de rugaciune pentru unitatea crestinilor – 18-25 ianuarie”

Muslims and Christians to meet in Geneva to build a common future

Muslims and Christians to meet in Geneva to build a common future

via Muslims and Christians to meet in Geneva to build a common future.

Justice, not Greed – A WCC Book on the World Economic Crisis

Justice Not Greed, a book addressing the international economic crisis, has been released by the publishing arm of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and is widely available through the Amazon.com website.

Edited by Pamela Brubaker and Rogate Mshana, Justice Not Greed is an anthology of articles by 14 leading Christian economists, theologians, ethicists and sociologists dealing with recent failures of the world’s financial structures. The authors are members of the WCCs advisory group on economic matters. The 224-page book provides economic analysis as well as biblical commentary and moral reflection. Continue reading “Justice, not Greed – A WCC Book on the World Economic Crisis”

WCC General Secretary in Jerusalem

Loving Your Neighbour in the Middle East

Military checkpoints are a way of life for Palestinians in Palestine and Israel. Each day tens of thousands of Palestinians move patiently through turnstiles and narrow caged walkways to go to work, school or home. It is a humiliating experience.

For the Israelis, it could be said that the checkpoints are also indirectly a part of their daily life. It is their sons and daughters who watch as the Palestinians move through the checkpoints to go home, to work, school or worship. Continue reading “WCC General Secretary in Jerusalem”

WCC and Pentecostals need each other, WCC general secretary says

“Among the many challenges that we face in the search for Christian unity is the need to overcome divisions and prejudices that exclude one another,” Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) said Wednesday, 24 August to the 22nd Pentecostal World Conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

In his greeting – the first ever offered by a WCC general secretary to a Pentecostal World Conference – Tveit highlighted the hope that comes with being invited to the conference and spoke of his personal experience with Pentecostal churches. Continue reading “WCC and Pentecostals need each other, WCC general secretary says”

Making Poverty History – An Attainable Ideal

The WCC has just issued a strong indictment of the solutions formulated by various governments to the presents world economic crisis. These solutions put the salvation of financial institutions on the forefront, which may be understandable, given the catastrophic implications of their possible collapse, but then suspectly forget the fate of the poor and the implications for them of the solutions formulated by the mighty of this world.

This is a prophetic indictment, as it is expected in such times from a religious organisation of this caliber.

Such a message is also needed in our country, following the last austerity measures of the government. Yet, Romanian religious are strangely silent about all this.

Let’s hope the mighty will hear it and pay attention. Here is the statement: Continue reading “Making Poverty History – An Attainable Ideal”

Christian leaders see value in common journey

Rev Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, Most Rev Brian Farrell and Rev Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) has played a significant role in helping bishops educated in a dated “theology of exclusion” to move towards a genuine “ecumenical commitment”. This was one of the remarks made by a leading Vatican figure at a press conference held at an international conference on world Christianity.

Continue reading “Christian leaders see value in common journey”

Message of the presidents of the WCC at Pentecost 2010

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

In 2010, this year just as at the time of the first Pentecost, Christians throughout the world, in their respective churches, will celebrate Pentecost in hundreds of different languages and will sing hymns in their own languages giving praise to the Lord.

Jesus’ disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit that first Pentecost because they were waiting for it in trust. They were gathered together waiting, confident in God’s promise. Continue reading “Message of the presidents of the WCC at Pentecost 2010”

WCC Blog on Evangelism

I met John Baxter-Brown in February 2010 during the last meeting of the Lausanne Theology Working Group, in Beirut.

He is a British theologian who was previously involved with Churches together in England, and is now Consultant for Evangelism with WCC.

John has recently initiated a WCC blog on evangelism, called Evangelism is in your comfort zone. Here is the explanation we find on the blog page:

On this blog John Baxter-Brown, the WCC Consultant for Evangelism, shares his impressions, hopes, ideas and stories about evangelism especially in relation to the WCC and the broader ecumenical movement. There is a strong focus on telling the evangelism stories he has researched on his travels: he usually finds that the best evangelism is done by ordinary Christians simply living out their faith – evangelism is within their comfort zone as they try to follow Jesus. Please note that blog entries are personal contributions by the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches or any other organization mentioned..

I paste below the message I have just received from John:

Continue reading “WCC Blog on Evangelism”

Iraqi Church Leaders Call for End to Violence

(Source of picture: New York Times)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Following the double bombing of a convoy of buses carrying Christian students and university workers, the General Secretariat of the Council of the Christian Church Leaders of Iraq (CCCLI) invited members of the Council to convene in emergency session in Qaraqosh. The attack near Mosul in northern Iraq on Sunday 2 May 2010 destroyed three buses and partially damaged two others. One person was killed, and 188 were seriously injured. The buses fell victim to a car bomb and an improvised explosive device (IED) as they traveled from the district of Hamdaniya centre to the University of Mosul.

Continue reading “Iraqi Church Leaders Call for End to Violence”

Raportul consfatuirii inter-religioase cu tema „Convertirea – evaluarea realitatii”

Lariano/Velletri (Italia): 12-16 mai 2006

Eveniment organizat de Consiliul Pontifical pentru Dialogul Inter-religios, Cetatea Vaticanului, şi Oficiul pentru Relaţii şi Dialog Inter-religios al Consiliului Mondial al Bisericilor, Geneva. Continue reading “Raportul consfatuirii inter-religioase cu tema „Convertirea – evaluarea realitatii””

First-ever summit of religious leaders on HIV

The first-ever Summit of High Level Religious Leaders on HIV and AIDS will be held in Den Dolder, Netherlands, from 22-23 March 2010. It aims to generate greater involvement from religious leaders of many of the world’s faiths in the global response to the pandemic.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) will be represented at the summit by two of its presidents – Abune Paulos, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Rev. Dr Ofelia Ortega Suárez of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba – as well as by its general secretary, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. Continue reading “First-ever summit of religious leaders on HIV”

WEA and WCC leaders meet

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and Rev. Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) met on 3 March, at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss common concerns around Christian unity. Continue reading “WEA and WCC leaders meet”

ACT – Churches Launch Major Humanitarian Alliance

The ACT Alliance, bringing together over 100 church-backed relief and development organizations worldwide, has been formally launched on 24 March with celebrations in Geneva and around the world.

The new ACT Alliance is one of the world’s largest humanitarian bodies working in 125 countries with a combined budget of 1.5 billion US dollars. It provides emergency food aid, shelter, water and sanitation facilities, and poverty reduction programmes in the world’s poorest countries. Continue reading “ACT – Churches Launch Major Humanitarian Alliance”

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