"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Honouring the Ecumenical Patriarch

Temptations toward envy of those in high office must surely be tempered by sober reflection on the enormous difficulties attendant upon monarchs, popes, patriarchs, and presidents. One such figure who occupies one of the most difficult and straitened of offices today is that of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who constantly must deal with headaches not only from the Turkish government, but also from other Orthodox, some of whom (the Russians) view his claims to pan-Orthodox authority with very great suspicion.

A recent publication seeks to honour the current incumbent of an office that ostensibly traces itself back to the Apostle Andrew: Thomas FitzGerald, ed., Servant of the Gospel: Studies in Honor of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011, 298pp.).

About this book, the publisher tells us:
On October 22, 2011, the Orthodox Church celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the election of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the 270th successor of the Apostle Andrew to the See of Constantinople, the First See of the Orthodox Church. Many accolades will be proclaimed of His All-Holiness' ministry: his gathering of historic assemblies of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, his commitment to Christian reconciliation and unity, his bridge-building among the religions of the world, his prophetic voice on environmental issues. Through each of these, he has become a Servant of the Gospel. The Faculty of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology adds its voice to the celebration with this collection of scholarly essays in honor of His All-Holiness. He has honored our campus with visits in 1997, when he received an honorary doctorate, and 2002. With this collection, we congratulate His All-Holiness and pray that our Lord and Savior grant him many years!

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