V European Orthodox-Catholic Forum

"Europe in fear of the threat from fundamentalist terrorism and the value of human person and religious freedom"

Paris, France, 9-12 January 2017


The V European Orthodox-Catholic Forum, an initiative promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) along with the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the accordance of the Orthodox Churches present in Europe, will open in Paris, France, on Monday 9 January 2017 with greetings from the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois. It will then be the turn of the two Co-presidents of the Forum, Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, to introduce the work of the meeting. The participants are representatives of the Bishops’ Conferences and of the Orthodox Churches present in Europe. The meeting is not open to the public.

The theme chosen for this V European Forum of its kind, Europe in fear of the threat from fundamentalist terrorism and the value of human person and religious freedom, will be reflected by the participants who will discuss the following issues: Human dignity and religious freedom; religious intolerance, discrimination and persecution; fundamentalism and terrorism today; the social cohesion and the phenomenon of fear in the rule of law looking at the mission of the rulers and the contribution of the Church; the Churches’ commitment in the handling of conflicts and in the promotion of the common good and solidarity; and finally the proclamation of Jesus Christ as a response to the threat both of fundamentalism and terrorism.

The meeting will end on Thursday 12 January with the adoption of a final message by the participants.

During the meeting, the participants will be able to meet and pray with the respective local Communities: on Tuesday 10 January at 7 pm at the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of France (7 rue Georges Bizet) for an Ecumenical Prayer (Doxology) hosted by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Ecumenical Patriarchate, and on Wednesday 11 January at 7.30 pm at the Notre Dame’s Cathedral for an evening prayer - during which the Crown of Thorns will be exposed - hosted by the Archdiocese of Paris.

The Orthodox-Catholic Forum stems from the desire to discuss anthropological, pastoral and cultural issues of crucial importance for the present and future of humanity with the aim of helping to define common stances on social and moral issues and does not tackle theological doctrinal matters, which are treated at other levels. The Forum does not at all substitute the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church which has been at work since 1980.

The First European Orthodox-Catholic Forum was held in 2008 (11-14 December) in Trent, Italy under the theme: The family: a good for humanity; the Second Forum took place on the Greek island of Rhodes, Greece in 2010 (18-22 October) under the theme: Church-State relations; the Third Forum took place in Lisbon, Portugal in 2012 (5-8 June) under the theme: The economic crisis and poverty. Challenges for today’s Europe; and the Fourth was held Forum in Minsk, Belarus in 2014 (2-6 June) under the theme: Religion and cultural diversity: challenges for the Christian Churches in Europe. The Acta of the previous Forums’ Meetings have been published in four volumes by Editrice Dehoniane in the Oggi e Domani series.

Notes to the Journalists-Photographers

The meeting is held behind closed doors, except the first part of the first session on Monday 9 January from 5.15 pm with the greetings of His Eminence Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris; His Eminence Cardinal Péter Erdő, Catholic Co-Chairman of the Forum, and His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, Orthodox Co-Chairman of the Forum, Ecumenical Patriarchate. The venue of the meeting is Missions Étrangères de Paris, 128 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris.

The communiqué is available in Deutsch, EnglishFrançais and Italiano.

Other informations (Program, List of participants,...) are available here.