We, three hundred and six delegates of diverse churches in Europe, gathered in the historical city of Lyon, France, from the 15th till the 21st of July 2009, under the theme "Called to one hope in Christ", on the occasion of the 13th General Assembly and the fiftieth anniversary of the Conference of European Churches, convey this message to the member churches of our ecumenical movement and all of Europe.
One hope in Christ
As Christians we dare to hope. As the letter to the Hebrews affirms, faith is the substance of things hoped for. Hope must be seen as an essential aspect of the Christian faith. Hope gives us joy, peace, courage, boldness and freedom. It liberates us from fear, opens our hearts and strengthens our witness to the Risen Lord. All Christians are called to the one hope in Christ, as a way of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. As Christians, we share our hope in the risen Christ with the communities in which we live and to which we belong. The Charta Oecumenica is the basis for our engagement ecumenically and with society.
The Serbian Orthodox Church, as the host and the owner of one great orthodox sanctuary, a monastery of St. Prohor Pcinjski, decided, on behalf of regional Diocese of Vranje as well as on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops and on the suggestion of His Grace Bishop Irinej of Bachka, the member of the Holy Synod and the official representative of the Diocese of Vranje regarding the issue of the celebration of the feast of the Holy Prophet Elijah (Ilindan) at the monastery of St. Prohor Pcinjski - to honestly, warmly, brotherly, without any hidden thoughts, provide hospitality and more than that, brotherly reception for the high delegation of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia on the 65th anniversary of ASNOM on the the feast of the Holy Prophet Elijah of this year.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Fourth of July is a day when we join with people across this nation and around the world in the celebration of an historic achievement that exalted the necessity of human freedom and initiated a political and social environment filled with opportunity and potential. The United States of America, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, was "conceived in liberty," dedicated to the ideal of justice and equality for all, thus becoming a nation that broadened the scope and function of citizenship and of the meaning of belonging and community.
The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Fourth pre-conciliar all-orthodox conference - which was organized by His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the blessing of Their Graces Heads of local Orthodox Churches, expressed at their gathering at the Phanar from October 10-12, 2008 - was held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy (Geneve) from June 6-12, 2009.
In the Skopje newspaper Vecher on May 19 was published an article of a journalist Marjan Nikolovski titled " The SOC should sit and negotiate with the MOC". In this text it is being stated that a visit of His Eminence Bishop Dr Marko of Berlin (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) and Reverend protopresbyter Nikolai Balashov , the Secretary of Inter-Orthodox Relations of the MP DECR to hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church on May 14 in Belgrade had as a goal to convey a message of His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia that the Serbian Orthodox Church should not elect a new head and "that in Belgrade tell them to bring a decision to begin talks with the Macedonian Orthodox Church".
None of these statements are truth. During talks among the members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church there was no single word on the themes that this journalist mentioned. Furthermore, it is impossible that one autocephaly Church brings any kind of requests or orders to other autocephaly Church. All talks between the Russian and the Serbian Church lead only to spirit of brotherly love and full mutual trust. The attempt of the Skopje journalist that the Moscow Patriarchate is presented to public as a "lawyer" of schismatic Church circles is in contradiction with the facts.
However, I agree with the position of Mr. Nikolovski that a dialogue presents a way for resolving all disputes, as well as the church related dispute in Macedonia.