On 25 November, at the monastery of Ayatrìada on the island of Halki, Patriarch Bartholomew met members of the “Together for Europe” Steering Committee. Their meeting took place during an ecumenical gathering of Bishops organized by the Focolare Movement.
The Patriarch, accompanied by Metropolitan Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, met Maria Voce, Gerhard Pross and Diego Goller. During the half hour he asked about preparations for the Munich event in 2016, and expressed his appreciation for both the event and its theme. He is unable to be present, because of the Holy Pan-Orthodox Synod in Constantinople at Pentecost 2016. He will however, send a personal representative to Munich with a video message for the event.
100 leading delegates of the network “Together for Europe” were gathering from 12th to 14th November. Together they publish the following statement in answer to the terror attacks in Paris.
“With dismay we heard of the dramatic attacks in Paris. We were together in Marienkroon in the Netherlands, more than 100 delegates from different Christian movements and communities coming from 13 European countries and different confessions and churches.
For us Europe is the continent in which people from all different cultures and religious varieties are welcome and should live united in freedom and peace.
We interrupted our work in order to be silent and to pray together. The events compel us to commit ourselves ever more intensely for Europe’s values. Our Christian faith too calls and obliges us to this.
We feel with the families of the victims and are united in solidarity with the politicians who have to take grave decisions in these days.
We live as friends in Europe and experience a deep closeness with the French people. We pledge to pray for peace more than ever and to live for it, to spread it wherever we are.
We want to live in mutual love and strengthen the powers of trust even more. With a humane face and faithfulness to its values Europe will have a common future.
In mid October some of the leaders responsible for Together for Europe visited Bishop Dr. Frank O. July, Vice-president of the Lutheran World Federation. The meeting was characterised by an extremely cordial atmosphere.
Fr. Heinrich Walter (Schoenstatt), Diego Goller (Focolare Movement), Pastor Thomas Römer (YMCA Munich), Sr. Anna-Maria aus der Wiesche (Christusbruderschaft Selbitz) and Gerhard Pross (YMCA Esslingen) were very pleased with the open dialogue that took place. Gerhard Pross sums up: “We were able to discuss issues related to the reconciliation between Churches and steps on the journey to unity. Encounters such as this are moments of light and are instrumental and effective in the preparation of our upcoming Event in June and July in Munich”.