Chronicles of Paris III. On the way to 2033 with the Orthodox Church

Return to the sources of faith

Saint Etienne Orthodox Cathedral, Paris

The second day - 4th June - of our Parisi stay begins with two Orthodox visits. First we go to the Rue Daru where Bishop Jean de Charioupoulis awaits us in the Cathedral S. Alexander Nevsky.

I know him under his family name "Renneteau" as a priest of the Francophone Orthodox community in Geneva, before he was appointed head of the Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe.

His adherence to the approach of JC2033 is immediate! "It is a very good idea about the basis of Christian unity despite the various paths that have been taken. The resurrection of Jesus is the joy that dwells in us; it is what makes us live. To celebrate 2033 is to return to the sources of our faith. The resurrection of Jesus is the joy that lives in us and makes us live.”

 

With Mgr Jean in his cathedral

According to him, the churches are less sociological than before. Christian society no longer exists as such; there are Christians living in society: "We have become confessing Christians. My spiritual father Sophrony said: this is no longer the time of the great churches but small confessional liturgical places.”

He notices an annoying obstacle: Orthodox texts forbid praying with unorthodox Christians. Locally it is possible, but on the international level it is necessary to think about it. However, the Lord's Prayer is the prayer of all Christians and the confession of the resurrection of Christ is common to all Christians.

"For us, Easter is the heart of the life of our Church. This is the main holiday that structures our entire liturgical year. Its deep meaning is the Christian mystery. Without the resurrection of Christ, there is no Christianity. Easter is more important than Christmas. It is the absolute gift of the Son of God that has made a gift of his life. This act frees all men.”

The summary of all Christian theology

with Mgr Emmanuel

Then we cross the Champs Élysées and we go to the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church, next to the Saint Etienne cathedral. Mgr Emmanuel (Adamakis), its Metropolitan, is also co-president of the Council of Christian Churches of France (CECEF) and tells us from the outset: "The CECEF is aware of your visit. We talked about it ... it's about seeing how to carry out this project!"

As in the previous visit, we are struck by the importance of the resurrection in the Orthodox Church: "Christ is truly risen: it is the summary of all Christian theology. This is how the Orthodox greet each other in Easter time. In the context of secularism that we live here, people do not understand it anymore. We have the responsibility to announce it".

Bishop Emmanuel has many responsibilities. He presides, among others, the Council of Orthodox Bishops of France. He has also chaired the Conference of European Churches and invites us to visit it in Brussels, as it is important for ecumenical organizations to be involved in this project.

Invited to share lunch with him, he also tells us about his commitment to the Conference of Religions for Peace. He believes that such a project should also be known in this context and he will consider how to communicate it.

Easter celebrations

Member of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, we had already met Father Ivan Karageorgiev, during our visit to Father E. Gougaud, with whom he collaborates hand in hand for the edition of the magazine "Unity of Christians".

This magazine is under the patronage of the Council of Christian Churches of France (CECEF), of which he is a co-secretary. He invites us to write an article about our Parisian visits, for the next edition. (Read here: https://unitedeschretiens.fr/En-marche-vers-2033.html)

He emphasizes the importance of informing leaders in advance and preparing a common message, a prophetic word related to the resurrection of Christ.

As is already happening at ecumenical gatherings on the occasion of Easter! Indeed, whenever the date of Easter was common to all Christians, meetings were organized in different cities of France to proclaim together the Resurrection of Christ, in very varied forms.

Here is how the site "Christian Unity" presents this approach: “It is hoped that revisiting our practices to the ally of our common faith gives a taste for a new dialogue and commitment. It is in this process that the CECEF encourages the churches.”

Ecumenical gathering at Easter, at Defense

Why prepare a gathering together (on the occasion of the Easter holidays):

  • to mark the foundation of our common faith;
  • give back strength to this first event of our faith;
  • to express the same hope in a visible way in the midst of a society that is secularized;
  • to get to know each other better by leaving our "bell towers";

Martin Hoegger

 

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