Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met on Saturday, September 23, 2023, with the Holy Clergy and the Monks of the Holy Metropolis of Austria and the Exarchate of Hungary, to whom he addressed and spoke about the role of the clergy in modern society.
Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria and Exarch of Hungary, with his assistant Bishop Paisios of Apamea, attended the meeting during which the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his joy to communicate face-to-face with the clergy. He noted that it was a great privilege that they were presbyters and deacons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and, they are, therefore, like “a faithful guardian of the Tradition of the Apostles, the Fathers, the Saints and the Martyrs of faith, philanthropy and charity of Orthodoxy.” “We know that their sacred mission cannot be accomplished without openness to the world and constant care for humans, the ‘beloved of God’,” he added.
The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed, “The main thing we want from you is to be faithful to the Great Church in the dual sense of a) unwavering faithfulness to the tradition of the Church and b) the ministry of humans, their life on Earth and their eternal destiny.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch also spoke about a “decalogue of pastoral dialogue”, since, as he said, some periods make pastoral work difficult. “A pastoral service should have empathy, imagination, and unwavering trust in the grace of God and in the power of human freedom,” stressed the Ecumenical Patriarch to the clergy and monks present.
At the end of his speech, he expressed satisfaction with the fact that thw works are in progress in regard to the full restoration of the Exarchate Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Budapest. As he said, this would contribute in many ways to the presence and spiritual and cultural testimony of the Exarchate in the Hungarian capital, and to the promotion of the ecumenical mission of the Great Church of Constantinople.
“This center of dialogue, culture and spirituality will represent and express the spirit of the Phanar,” he pointed out. “We thank again and again the Government of Hungary for giving us the permission to use the building complex at the center of the capital. We praise You, Metropolitan of Austria and Bishop Paisios of Apamea, at the Mother Church for your divine zeal and efforts for the completion of the whole project but also for all your ministry.”