(SYDNEY) On Saturday, 11 October 2008, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand participated in an astute academic gathering at the International House of the University of Sydney, sponsored by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. This enlightening symposium was chaired by Associate Professor Jake Lynch, a renowned journalist and accomplished author. This distinguished conference was well attended by university professors and students, international professionals and prominent members of the communities of faith.
Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia was critical about giving 2008 Nobel
Peace Prize to former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who worked out the plan
for "a peaceful separation of Kosovo. It was unjust to award Mr. Ahtisaari who contributed to separation of Kosovo
from Serbia with an international peace prize," Alexy II said
in his meeting with Serbian Ambassador Stanimir Vukicevic in the Moscow patriarchal residence.
Patriarchs, primates and representatives of all the Patriarchal and Autochephalous Orthodox Churches recommitted themselves to overcome intra-Orthodox conflicts as well as to continue theological dialogues with Christians from other confessions at a 10-12 October meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
"Overcoming the internal conflicts of the Orthodox Church through the surrendering of nationalistic, ethnic and ideological extremes of the past" is a requisite for the "word of Orthodoxy [to] have a necessary impact on the contemporary world," reads a message issued at the end of the meeting.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
1. Through the Grace of God, the Primates and the Representatives of the local Orthodox Churches have gathered from 10-12 October, 2008, in the Phanar, at the invitation and under the presidency of the First among us, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on the occasion of the proclamation of this year as the year of Saint Paul, Apostle to the Nations. We have deliberated in fraternal love on the issues that concern the Orthodox Church, and participating in the festivities of this occasion, we celebrated together the Holy Eucharist in the Most Sacred Patriarchal Church of the Ecumenical Throne, today, 12 October 2008, Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. During these days, we have been strengthened by the truth of the gifts of divine providence received by the Apostle to the Nations, which rendered him a superb "chosen vessel" (Acts 9:15) of God and a shining model of apostolic ministry for the body of the Church.
The entire Orthodox Church is honoring this Apostle during the current year of the Lord, promoting him as an example to its faithful for a contemporary witness of our faith to "those near and those afar" (Eph. 2:17).
The Russian Orthodox Church suspended its membership of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) on Saturday, the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations told Interfax-Religion.
"The reason for this decision was the unwillingness to consider a membership application by the Estonian Orthodox Church, a self-governing Church within the Moscow Patriarchate, which is illegitimate, groundless and going against the constitution and the CEC rules," it said.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the leaders of the world's Orthodox churches on Friday, October 10, 2008, for the official opening of the Synaxis of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches and Pauline Symposium. The three-day meeting is being held at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint George in Istanbul, Turkey. The church leaders will later travel to sites visited by Saint Paul in Turkey and Greece later this week.