Speech! Speech! From One Ecumenist to Another

The new moderator of the Central Committee, Revd Dr Walter Altmann, President of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, responding to the Ecumenical Patriarch, offered the following:

«Your All Holiness,
It is a great pleasure for all of us, Officers and members of the Staff Leadership Group of the WCC to be here, in the apostolic and historical Church of Constantinople, hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

It is a great honor to all of us to be received by Your All Holiness today, in a spirit of Christian friendship and love, in a spirit of a genuine commitment to the unity of the church, in a spirit of deep awareness of our common calling within a suffering world….

Indeed, the Church of Constantinople has been a truly “ecumenical” church throughout the history…, the real “ecumenical” character and nature of this Church…, being tangibly manifested in her many historical initiatives.

However, the series of the many “ecumenical” initiatives undertaken by this Church are not limited to promoting dialogue among Christians. Your All Holiness has personally become a leading figure of the contemporary ecumenical movement by continuing the long-standing tradition of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and playing an active role in the fields of; inter-religious dialogue and collaboration, reconciliation among peoples and cultures, and the protection of the natural environment.

For all these we are grateful, as we are grateful for the permanent support of the Church of Constantinople to the WCC. One expression of this care and support is the presence of Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima among us today, as one of us, the Officers, representing the WCC….

We envisage full communion. We engage with passion in the struggle against poverty and injustice. We work for the reconciliation and peace. There are, assuredly, many hindrances and obstacles along the paths of our ecumenical journey. But, as the Apostle Paul says writing to the congregation in Corinth, “we are perplexed, but not driven to despair” (2 Co 4:8)….
Therefore, our prayer is: “God, in your grace, transform our hope. Transform our feeble hopes into that hope which comes from Christ’s resurrection and therefore transforms the whole world. This is the hope that will bring new life into our lives, our churches and the ecumenical movement. Yes, we do hope, “against hope”».