Tag Archives: Pantelis Kalaitzidis

Pope Francis’s Engagement with the Orthodox
An Afterward Comment on His Visit to Cyprus and Greece

by Pantelis Kalaitzidis | български | ქართული | Română | Русский | Српски

This essay was published in Greek at Polymeros kai Polytropos, the blog of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies.

Pope Francis

Since the very beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has appeared in front of the crowd gathered physically at the St. Peter’s square and the entire world watching through mass media as “bishop of Rome,” adopting an ecumenically friendly language to describe his ministry, compatible with the ecclesiological presuppositions of the Orthodox Church. What is more, Pope Francis has repeatedly and in various occasions underlined the concept of “synodality” as both a constitutive dimension of the Church and a crucial step on its way toward the third millennium. Needless to say, “synodality” is fundamental to the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church, and for good reason it has been recognized as one of the most significant contributions of the Orthodox to ecumenical dialogue. Adopting, therefore, a theological and ecclesiological principle that characterizes the Orthodox Church (despite some weaknesses that should be admitted in practical implementation in inter-Orthodox relations), Pope Francis pointed out the fruitful ways in which ecumenical dialogue and the approach to the confessionally “other” could enrich internal ecclesial procedures, becoming beneficial for each single Christian tradition.

Under this perspective, there was no surprise that the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has been mentioned in the papal encyclical “Laudato Si” (2015) as a source of inspiration for Pope Francis’ ecotheological vision. This recognition of the value and the importance of the longstanding commitment to environmental issues shown by Patriarch Bartholomew, who for decades has been preaching that caring for the environment is a religious imperative and whose name has become synonymous with ecological theology, earning the title “Green Patriarch” thanks to his persistent endeavors, highlights, in the best possible way, how the collaboration between church leaders could raise the awareness of competent civil authorities and public opinion on global issues, such as the climate change and the protection of the planet. In few words, the openness of Pope Francis and his constructive and positive approach to sensitive issues concerning the Orthodox tradition are promising signs of the common path of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches toward  full communion. An additional element that should be stressed and explains the increasing popularity of Pope Francis among the Orthodox, despite the wounds of the historical past,  is his public discourses, statements, gestures, and writings, all representing an open-minded Christianity, a Church of the “humble and poor,” honestly working toward repentance and reconciliation.

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Why Do Theological Pluralism and Dialogical Ethos Matter for Orthodoxy?
The Volos Academy for Theological Studies Blog “In Many and Various Ways”

by Pantelis Kalaitzidis | български | ქართული | Română | Русский | Српски

This post was originally published in Greek on the new blog of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, πολυμερώς και πολυτρόπως (“In Many and Various Ways”). Read the Greek original.

Because, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, in many and various ways God spoke to our ancestors in faith (cf. Heb. 1: 1), just as in these last days, as evidenced by the Pauline and the Catholic letters, the Gospel was preached and embodied in a diverse, pluralistic and ecumenical environment.

Because, today’s orthodoxism seems to have largely lost the wonderful balance of the Council of Chalcedon, a balance that is expressed in the “Chalcedonian adverbs” “unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably,” and has slipped more and more into one-sided and gnosiomachical practices, as well as into a theological monophysitism. It suffices to visit an Orthodox religious bookstore in Greece. One will find there that the Bible and the Fathers have been completely sidelined by all sorts of contemporary elders and their followers, who have occupied a privileged position for years!…

Because, modern Orthodoxy often tends to replace theological pluralism with all kinds of monophonic versions, and, moreover, to further the ecclesiastical/ecclesiological, as well as the juridical, fragmentation of the national churches and the Orthodox diaspora. Orthodoxy’s legitimate (and traditional) theological pluralism, its unity in diversity, has thus been replaced in many cases by spiritual uniformity and a theological entrapment in a single trend, in a homogeneous expression.

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