In a video message shown at the opening of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Busan, Republic of Korea, Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, called on Christians to “pray for the peace of the whole world and for the unity of all”.
Prayers for “peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula” and struggles of people for “justice and peace in the Middle East” remained significant references in his message. These concerns had been emphasized in the assembly’s opening prayer service earlier in the day.
Bartholomew I’s recorded message was shown on 30 October at the WCC assembly addressing the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.
The assembly has brought more than 2,000 participants from around the world.
Bartholomew I said the assembly theme “informs our responsibility and accountability before critical problems of global importance, such as economy and ecology. We cannot remain idle spectators in a world pervaded by social injustice and plagued by suffering and oppression.”
In praying, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace, we must renew our commitment to the essential vision of the World Council of Churches to confess the Lord Jesus Christ and glorify the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” he said.
“We can never separate issues of social consequences from those of theological significance; we cannot isolate challenges to human rights from dialogue about religious doctrine.”
He said the assembly theme “appropriately encompasses purpose, perspective and prayer.”
Bartholomew I spoke about the commitments of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a founding member of the WCC. The commitment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the vision of the WCC has been unwavering, he said, from the very beginning to the more contentious periods.
He added that this commitment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is evident through its extensive participation in particular roles and responsibilities in the WCC over many decades.
Offering his prayers for the assembly, Bartholomew I said, “May your encounter in Busan be the source of renewal for our churches and our ‘life together in faith, hope and love’.”
“May it pave the way for respect and compassion toward every human being so that all people may be welcomed, honoured and embraced as unique pieces of a sacred puzzle constituting the marvelous mystery of God’s wonderful creation,” he concluded.
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