The First Catholic-Orthodox Forum, organized by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), took place in Trent from Thursday to Sunday. Seventeen representatives of European bishops' conferences, Vatican dicasteries, and Orthodox Churches met to discuss the theme "The Family: A Good for Humanity." The Forum is not a theological dialogue; rather, it seeks to "help define common positions on social and moral questions. By engaging in this exchange, we help each other realize just how close our moral and social doctrines are."
Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's representative branch in European international organizations, took modern Western society to task for backsliding on traditional family values.
"The dramatic and unprecedented in scale social sweeping change caused by the "sexual revolution" has affected almost all Western countries. Within less than fifty years, the traditional assumptions about family and sex have been overthrown: they are replaced with the "progressive" norms based on a liberal ideology," Bishop Hilarion said reporting to the First Orthodox-Catholic Forum in Trento, Italy.
Orthodox Churches in Russia and abroad have been holding memorial services for Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, on Saturday, the ninth day after his death, in keeping with the Orthodox tradition.
In Athens, in the shadow of protests, today ends a three-day scientific seminar - Dialogue between Christianity and Islam, within an interreligious educational initiative for cooperation, with the theme titled '' The Ability of building interreligious dialogue''. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and the World Islamic Call Society both organized this seminar which lasted from December 11 to 13, 2008 in the capital of Greece.
His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, made statements about the loss of the former President of Cyprus, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos.
His Beatitude, having expressed his deep sadness, praised the virtues of the deceased former President as well as the efforts he made for the rights of Cypriot Hellenes. He said: "We are saddened at the loss of a great man from the martyred Island, a man with high patriotic fortitude, who from a young age up until the final moment of his life, fought for the common good, always beside Orthodoxy and the Missionary efforts of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.