Home page News
Conference in Austria devoted to second anniv…

Conference in Austria devoted to second anniversary of Havana Meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

On February 12, 2018, the second anniversary of the Havana meeting between Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis of Rome, an international conference devoted to the situation of Christians in the Middle East took place in Vienna. Organized with the participation of the Catholic diocese of Austria, the forum took place at the Episcopal Palace of Vienna. Its co-organizers included the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations (DECR), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christians Unity, the Russian Federation Ministry of Culture and the Russian embassy in Austria.

The event was attended by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, DECR chairman; Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christians Unity; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna; Metropolitan Ignatius of Paris (Orthodox Church of Antioch); Archbishop Antoniy of Vienna and Budapest, head of the Moscow Patriarchate office for institutions abroad; Metropolitan Issa Gurbus of Switzerland and Austria (Syriac Jacobite Church); Bishop Armash Nalbandian, head of the diocese of Damascus of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Exarchate of Echmiadzin); Bishop Joseph Mouawad (Maronite Church). Among the participants in the forum were Russian ambassador to Austria D. Lyublinsky; Archbishop Peter Stephen Zubriggen, Apostolic Nuncio in Austria; Archpriest Vladimir Tyschuk, rector of the St. Nicholas’s in Vienna; Protodeacon Victor Shilovsky, secretary of the diocese of Vienna and Austria; diocesan clergy; numerous representatives of the diplomatic corps, Orthodox and Catholic clergy, monastic communities, charitable organizations and laity.

The delegation who accompanied Metropolitan Hilarion included Hieromonk Stephen (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; Hieromonk Ioann (Kopeikin), pro-rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies; and I. Kashitsyn, DECR secretariat for interreligious relations.

The conference was opened with the address of Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna. He spoke about the importance of the Havana meeting, pointing out that this historic event was in itself a message to all Christians and people of good will.

Then the participants in the forum were greeted by Ambassador Lyublinsky. He noted the importance of holding such a forum in Vienna as a traditional center for dialogue between states, cultures and religions.

After that, Metropolitan Hilarion made a report about the situation of persecuted Christians, the realization of practical Orthodox-Catholic cooperation in this area and the work of the Russian Orthodox Church to give support to the suffering brothers and sisters. He presented a catalogue of the ruined Christian churches prepared through the common efforts of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations and the Catholic organization ‘Kirche in Not’. The brochure contains data on 30 establishments. He also spoke about the largest humanitarian action to be held in Syria. It was carried out by the Interreligious Working Group functioning under the aegis of the Russian Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations.

Cardinal Kurt Koch introduced the forum to the humanitarian work carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq. He devoted a considerable part of his address to a reflection on the phenomenon of Christian martyrdom.

Speaking next were hierarchs from Christian Churches in Syria. Bishop Armash Nalbandian of Damascus spoke about the situation of Christian in Syria where churches are being destroyed, clergy and laity kidnapped, Christians leaving their homelands for seven years now. According to his information, 60% of the local Christians have lost their homes; in Syria’s Armenian community alone over 200 people were killed, 450 wounded, 120 kidnapped, thousands of churches destroyed, 70 churches ruined, over 59 Christian facilities damaged. He called upon Christian Churches to help preserve the Christian presence in the Middle East, also through prayer. He expressed gratitude for the solidarity manifested by the Orthodox and Catholic Christians. The bishop also spoke about the recent bombardment of Christian residential areas in Damascus in which civilians including children were killed. After that all the schools had to be closed.

The speaker expressed special gratitude to the Russian Orthodox Church for the February visit of the interreligious humanitarian delegation, noting that for Syrian Christians this action became an important sign of solidarity.

Maronite Bishop Zahle Joseph Mouawad spoke about the difficult social and humanitarian situation in Lebanon, in which there are 3 million refugees from Syria. He also expressed gratitude to the Russian Orthodox Church for the humanitarian action carried by the Interreligious Working Group in the Beqaa Valley. He underscored the importance of political and religious dialogue for stabilization of the situation in Lebanon.

In his address, Executive President of the Aid to the Church in Need Foundation Johannes Heereman pointed to the need to continue cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church in protecting persecuted Christians in the Middle East and  asserting Christian values, support to the family and human dignity. The joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group is called to coordinate this cooperation in the spirit of the Havana Declaration.

The Executive President of the ‘Kirche in Not’ Foundation, Johannes Heereman von Zuydtwyck, noted in his speech that it’s necessary to continue cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church in protecting persecuted Christians in the Middle East, in promoting Christian values, supporting the family, and human dignity. The joint Orthodox-Catholic working group is tasked with coordination of this cooperation in the spirit of the Havana Declaration.

After the conference, a reception was given on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese in Vienna, during which participants continued discussing the reports.

DECR Communication Service

Share:
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with President of Cuba

22.11.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with Primate of the Assyrian Church of the East

16.11.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill expressed condolences over the terrorist attack in central Istanbul

13.11.2022

Congratulations from the Primate of the Russian Church to His Holiness Patriarch Tawadros II of the Coptic Church on his 70th birthday

04.11.2022

Hierarchs of the Serbian Church concelebrate with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the Liturgy in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

18.10.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with WCC acting general secretary Archpriest Ioan Sauca

18.10.2022

Holy Synod considers matters of external church relations

13.10.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church

13.10.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with members of Commission for Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church

20.09.2022

Greetings by His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill to the VII Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

14.09.2022

Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

09.09.2022

Russian Church recognizes Macedonian Orthodox Church – Archdiocese of Ohrid as Autocephalous Sister Church

25.08.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs regular session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church

25.08.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill talks with the President of Kazakhstan

16.08.2022

Condolences of Patriarch Kirill over the death of believers in the fire that broke out in Abu-Seifein Church in Cairo

15.08.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: Many things in a person's life depend on faith

29.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Spirit is the main treasure of the Christian soul

01.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Holiness is a constant striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ

27.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us

07.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents

24.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins

19.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life

17.01.2021

On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America

07.12.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people

29.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God

19.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God

06.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible

25.10.2020

Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people

27.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us

13.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation

30.08.2020

Page is available in the following languages
Feedback

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message
Рус Укр Eng Deu Ελλ Fra Ita Бълг ქარ Срп Rom عرب