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Letter to the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church

14 September 2007

Geneva, 14 September 2007

Your Beatitude,

 "If one member is honoured, all members rejoice with it"!

 (1 Cor. 12:26)

On behalf of the fellowship of World Council member churches, on behalf of Your Beatitude's many dear friends throughout the ecumenical movement, including your former colleagues and former students, please accept our most sincere congratulations on the occasion of your election as Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Your life and ministry has been an inspiring witness to the unity of the church and we have every confidence that as the Head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, you will serve your Church faithfully, share generously your gifts of wisdom, discernment and leadership within the wider Orthodox Church, as well as with your many partners in the ecumenical dialogue.

Among your contributions to the ecumenical movement is the theological affirmation that the self-revealing mystery of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the source of the unity that we seek as followers of Christ. In your own words the "Trinitarian revelation shows that ultimately the truth, life and unity in God are identical with koinonia/community". As you will know we are deeply committed to this very notion of koinonia, which constitutes the foundational vision and the ultimate goal of the World Council of Churches. In this we do need your inspired leadership and we will appreciate your theological, spiritual and moral support.

As a lecturer at and deputy director of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey throughout the 1980s and as a member of the World Council of Churches' Central and Executive Committees from 1991 to 1998, you have helped the ecumenical movement to better understand that the source of our conciliar fellowship as Churches is revealed through the love, unity and mystery of the Triune God.  We will continue counting on your inspiring theological discourse and your comforting ecclesial support.

Your election to the highest ministry in the Romanian Orthodox Church comes undoubtedly as a grateful recognition that you have exercised your Episcopal ministry being "hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober minded, just (…) holding fast the faithful word (…) able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict" -  your spiritual sons and daughters, the people of God entrusted to you (cf. Tit. 1:8-9).  Yes, we trust that both your people in Romania and your many friends around the world will have "joy from you in the Lord", that you will "refresh our hearts in the Lord", and that you will do even more than we all expect from you (cf. Philem. 20-21).

We ask God's blessing upon Your Beatitude as you respond to the call before you to serve and guide the Romanian Orthodox Church. May God richly bless your leadership, and may your leadership in turn be a blessing to all people and to all Churches.

In Christ's name,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia

General Secretary