Inter-Orthodox Pre-Assembly Meeting takes place
An Inter-Orthodox Meeting in preparation for the ninth assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) is taking place 11-16 January in Rhodes, Greece.
With some 50 participants from Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, young Orthodox theologians and fraternal delegates, the meeting intends to reflect on the assembly theme and to consider the work and recommendations of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, looking for ways in which its insights and specific recommendations can be brought to the Council's next assembly.
The Inter-Orthodox gathering started with a prayer service at the Cathedral of the Annunciation, presided over by H. E. Metropolitan Kyrillos of Rhodes who is hosting the meeting on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In welcoming the participants, Metropolitan Kyrillos spoke of the importance of the assembly theme, God, in your grace, transform the world. He reminded participants that more than a title, the theme is a prayer, and thatthe notion of transformation and transfiguration is deep in Orthodox theology. It is only by God’s grace, pre-eminently in the sacramental life of the Church, that we can be renewed and transformed.
In other welcome speeches the Prefect of the Dodecanesian Islands, the Mayor of Rhodes and a representative from the Ministry of the Aegean Sea emphasized the relevance of the assembly theme for today's world.
Thoughts of the tsunami disaster were present in the minds of all speakers. Christians today need to re-discover an awareness of the presence of God and to realise that we are not masters of our own destiny. The discussion between churches and between faith communities is vital. But a sign of hope is the swift response from so many people all over the world to alleviate suffering.
The speakers also referred to Rhodes as a place of past encounters between East and West and between North and South - a place where Orthodox, Catholics, Muslims and Jews brought the specific aspects of their different cultures and found shelter and hospitality.
The opening session of the meeting was led by H. E. Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, who explained the tasks and goals of the gathering, which is ultimately intended to contribute to the life of the WCC and the one ecumenical movement.
More information on the WCC ninth assembly is available at
More information on the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC is available at