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Сряда, 24 септември 2008 г. - Брюксел Редактирана версия

9. Тържествено заседание - Вселенски патриарх Вартоломей І
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  Der Präsident. − Eure Heiligkeit, Patriarch Bartholomäus! Es ist eine große Ehre, Eure Heiligkeit zu dieser feierlichen Sitzung im Europäischen Jahr des Interkulturellen Dialogs 2008 hier im Europäischen Parlament zu begrüßen. Als erster Gast im Rahmen des Jahres des Dialogs der Kulturen hat der Großmufti von Damaskus im Januar eine Rede vor dem Europäischen Parlament gehalten. Er kommt aus Syrien und hat als Vertreter des friedlichen Islam zu uns gesprochen.

Sie, Heiligkeit, vertreten den christlichen Glauben, und mit dem Großrabbiner Jonathan Sacks wird im November in Straßburg ein Vertreter des Judentums vor dem Europäischen Parlament sprechen.

Jahrhundertelang haben Menschen dieser drei Religionen – des Christentums, des Judentums und des moslemischen Glaubens – in enger Nachbarschaft zusammengelebt, leider nicht immer friedlich. Auch heute gibt es im Nahen Osten und darüber hinaus Gebiete, die durch die Spannungen zwischen den verschiedenen Gemeinschaften geprägt sind.

Wir, das Europäische Parlament, unterstützen alle Bemühungen, dass die Religionen und Kulturen im Nahen Osten und überall in der Welt friedlich zusammenleben. Andererseits gibt es im Nahen Osten aber auch Beispiele für religiöse Toleranz, für harmonische Beziehungen zwischen Menschen unterschiedlicher religiöser Überzeugungen. Als ich kürzlich Syrien besucht habe, hatte ich Gelegenheit, die geistlichen Oberhäupter der verschiedenen Glaubensgemeinschaften zu treffen, und sie haben mir versichert, dass in diesem Land gute Beziehungen für den Dialog zwischen den Religionen und Kulturen bestehen.

Die Europäische Union ist eine Wertegemeinschaft, und einer unserer grundlegenden Werte ist die jedem Menschen innewohnende Würde. In dieser Hinsicht ist die Religionsfreiheit ein wesentlicher Aspekt der Menschenwürde und geht weit über alle Befugnisse hinaus, auf die sich staatliche Autoritäten berufen. Die Trennung von Kirche und Staat, die wir so hoch schätzen, ist ein Garant für die Freiheit der religiösen Gemeinschaften, ihre internen Angelegenheiten und ihre Beziehungen selbst zu gestalten. Im Vertrag von Lissabon, für dessen Inkrafttreten wir engagiert sind, werden diese Grundsätze bestätigt.

Das Ökumenische Patriarchat von Konstantinopel mit Sitz in Phanar in Istanbul wurde im 4. Jahrhundert gegründet und ist ein wichtiges geistliches Zentrum für 300 Millionen orthodoxe Christen weltweit. Phanar heißt Leuchtturm, und Sie, Heiligkeit, waren den Gläubigen in der orthodoxen Welt und darüber hinaus immer ein leuchtendes Beispiel für Versöhnung und Frieden.

Bei der jüngsten Erweiterung der Europäischen Union sind Länder mit orthodoxen Mehrheiten wie Zypern, Bulgarien und Rumänien zur Europäischen Union hinzugekommen, und Griechenland ist Mitglied seit 1981. Der verstorbene Papst Johannes Paul II., der 1988 vor dem Europäischen Parlament gesprochen hat, hat das metaphorisch so ausgedrückt: „Europa atmet nach der Überwindung der Teilung Europas wieder mit beiden Lungenflügeln.“ Auch wir könnten diese Metapher heute verwenden, um den Reichtum in der erweiterten Union zu beschreiben, den uns die unterschiedlichen Perspektiven des Christentums westlicher und östlicher Prägung gebracht haben.

Heiligkeit, wir danken Ihnen für Ihren Besuch. Sie sind eine der ganz wenigen Persönlichkeiten, die zum zweiten Mal vor dem Europäischen Parlament sprechen. Sie waren 1994 schon hier, und Sie geben uns die Ehre, aus Anlass des Europäischen Jahres des Dialogs der Kulturen zu uns zu sprechen. Darauf freuen wir uns.

Ich darf Sie bitten, nun zu den Mitgliedern des Europäischen Parlaments zu sprechen. Herzlichen Dank!

(Beifall)

 
  
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  His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I. − Your Excellency Mr President of the European Parliament, your Excellencies, honourable Members of the European Parliament, distinguished guests, dear friends, first and foremost we convey to you salutations from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, based for many, many centuries in what is today Istanbul – greetings replete with esteem and respect. In particular, we express our gratitude to an old friend of ours, His Excellency Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament. We likewise express our sincerest appreciation for the extraordinary honour to address the plenary sitting of the European Parliament for the second time (as the President already mentioned), especially on this occasion that commemorates the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

As a purely spiritual institution, our Ecumenical Patriarchate embraces a truly global apostolate that strives to raise and broaden the consciousness of the human family – to bring understanding that we are all dwelling in the same house. At its most basic sense, this is the meaning of the word ‘ecumenical’ – for the ‘oikoumene’ is the inhabited world – the earth understood as a house in which all peoples, kindreds, tribes and languages dwell.

As is well known, the origins of our religious institution lie at the core of the Axial Age, deep in the history of the Christian Faith – with the earliest followers of Jesus Christ. Inasmuch as our See – our institutional centre – shared the centre and capital of the Christian Roman Empire, it became known as ‘ecumenical’, with certain privileges and responsibilities that it holds to this day. One of its chief responsibilities was for bringing the redemptive message of the Gospel to the world outside the Roman Empire. In the days before the exploratory age, most civilisations held such a bicameral view of the world as being ‘within’ and ‘without’. The world was divided into two sectors: a hemisphere of civilisation and a hemisphere of barbarism. In this history, we behold the grievous consequences of the alienation of human persons from one another.

Today, when we have the technological means to transcend the horizon of our own cultural self-awareness, we nevertheless continue to witness the terrible effects of human fragmentation. Tribalism, fundamentalism, and phyletism – which is extreme nationalism without regard to the rights of the other – all these contribute to the ongoing list of atrocities that give pause to our claims of being civilised in the first place.

And yet, even with tides of trade, migrations and expansions of peoples, religious upheavals and revivals, and great geopolitical movements, the deconstruction of rigid and monolithic self-understandings of past centuries has yet to find a permanent harbour. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has sailed across the waves of these centuries, navigating the storms and the doldrums of history. For twenty centuries – through the Pax Romana, the Pax Christiana, the Pax Islamica, the Pax Ottomanica (all epochs marked by intercultural struggle, conflict and outright war) – the Ecumenical Patriarchate has continued as a lighthouse for the human family and the Christian Church. It is from the depths of our experience upon these deep waters of history that we offer to the contemporary world a timeless message of perennial human value.

Today, the ecumenical scope of our Patriarchate extends far beyond the boundaries of its physical presence at the cusp of Europe and Asia, in the same city we have inhabited for the seventeen centuries since her founding. Though small in quantity, the extensive quality of our experience brings us before this august assembly today, in order to share from that experience on the necessity of intercultural dialogue, a lofty and timely ideal for the contemporary world.

As you yourselves have said – in this most esteemed body’s own words: ‘At the heart of the European project, it is important to provide the means for intercultural dialogue and dialogue between citizens to strengthen respect for cultural diversity and deal with the complex reality in our societies and the coexistence of different cultural identities and beliefs’ (Decision No 1983/2006/EC) and we would humbly append this noble statement, as we did last year in our address to the Plenary of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg: ‘Dialogue is necessary first and foremost because it is inherent in the nature of the human person’.

This is the principal message that we propose for your consideration today: that intercultural dialogue is at the very root of what it means to be a human being, for no one culture of the human family encompasses every human person. Without such dialogue, the differences in the human family are reduced to objectifications of the ‘other’ and lead to abuse, conflict, persecution – a grand-scale human suicide, for we are all ultimately one humanity. But where the differences between us move us to encounter one another, and where that encounter is based in dialogue, there is reciprocal understanding and appreciation – even love.

In the past 50 years, our human family has experienced leaps of technological achievement undreamed of by our forebears. Many have trusted that this kind of advancement will bridge the divides that fragment the human condition. As if our achievements had given us the power to overcome the fundamental realities of our moral and – may we say – our spiritual condition. Yet, despite every conceivable benefit and technological skill – skill that seems to outstrip our anthropological wit – we still behold the universal banes of hunger, thirst, war, persecution, injustice, planned misery, intolerance, fanaticism and prejudice.

Amidst this cycle that cannot seem to be broken, the significance of the ‘European project’ cannot be underestimated. It is one of the hallmarks of the European Union that has succeeded in promoting mutual, peaceful and productive co-existence between nation states that less than 70 years ago were drenched in a bloody conflict that could have destroyed the legacy of Europe for the ages.

Here, in this great hall of assembly of the European Parliament, you strive to make possible the relationships between states and political realities that make reconciliation between persons possible. Thus you have recognised the importance of intercultural dialogue, especially at a time in the history of Europe when transformations are taking place in every country and along every societal boundary. Great tidal forces of conflict, and economic security and opportunity have shifted populations around the globe. Of necessity, then, persons of differing cultural, ethnic, religious and national origin find themselves in close proximity. In some cases, the same populations shun the greater whole and close themselves off from the dominant society. But in either case, as we engage in dialogue, it must not be a mere academic exercise in mutual appreciation.

For dialogue to be effective, to be transformative in bringing about core change in persons, it cannot be done on the basis of ‘subject’ and ‘object’. The value of the ‘other’ must be absolute – without objectification; so that each party is apprehended in the fullness of their being.

For Orthodox Christians, the icon, or image, stands not only as an acme of human aesthetic accomplishment, but as a tangible reminder of the perennial truth. As in every painting – religious or not, and notwithstanding the talent of the artist – the object presents as two-dimensional. Yet, for Orthodox Christians, an icon is no mere religious painting – and it is not, by definition, a religious object. Indeed, it is a subject with which the viewer, the worshipper, enters into wordless dialogue through the sense of sight. For an Orthodox Christian, the encounter with the icon is an act of communion with the person represented in the icon. How much more should our encounters with living icons – persons made in the image and likeness of God – be acts of communion!

In order for our dialogue to become more than mere cultural exchange, there must be a more profound understanding of the absolute interdependence – not merely of states and political and economic actors – but the interdependence of every single human person with every other single human person. And such a valuation must be made regardless of any commonality of race, religion, language, ethnicity, national origin, or any of the benchmarks by which we seek self-identification and self-identity. And in a world of billions of persons, how is such inter-connectedness possible?

Indeed, there is no possible way to link with every human person – this is a property that we would ascribe to the Divine. However, there is a way of understanding the universe in which we live as being shared by all – a plane of existence that spans the reality of every human person – an ecosphere that contains us all.

Thus it is that the Ecumenical Patriarchate – in keeping with our own sense of responsibility for the house, the oikos of the world and all who dwell therein – has for decades championed the cause of the environment, calling attention to ecological crises around the globe. And we engage this ministry without regard to self-interest. As you know so well, our Patriarchate is not a ‘national’ church, but rather the fundamental canonical expression of the ecumenical dimensions of the Gospel message, and of its analogous responsibility within the life of the Church. This is the deeper reason that the Church Fathers and the Councils have given it the name ‘Ecumenical’. The loving care of the Church of Constantinople exceeds any linguistic, cultural, ethnic and even religious definition, as she seeks to serve all peoples. Although firmly rooted in particular history – as any other institution is – the Ecumenical Patriarchate transcends historical categories in her perennial mission of service during 1 700 years.

In our service to the environment, we have, to date, sponsored seven scientific symposia that bring together a host of disciplines. The genesis of our initiative grew on the island that gave humanity the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation: the sacred island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. And it was in the Aegean that we commenced, in 1995, an ambitious programme of integrating current scientific knowledge about the oceans with the spiritual approach of the world’s religions to water, particularly the world’s oceans. Since Patmos, since 1995, we have traversed the Danube, the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Amazon, the Arctic Sea (last September), and we are now making preparations to sail the Nile in Egypt and the Mississippi River in the United States, both next year.

What we seek is not only an ongoing dialogue that is serviceable to practical necessities, but also one that raises human consciousness. While we strive to find answers to ecological concerns and crises, we also bring the participants into a more comprehensive sense of themselves as belonging to and relating to a greater whole. We seek to embrace the ecosphere of human existence not as an object to be controlled, but as a fellow-struggler on the path of increase and improvement. As the Apostle Paul, whose 2 000-year legacy both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches are celebrating this year, says in one of his most famous epistles, the Epistle to the Romans, ‘For we know that until now, the whole of creation groans with us and shares our birth pangs’.

Every ecosystem on this planet is like a nation – by definition limited to a place. The estuary is not the tundra, nor is the savannah the desert. But like every culture, every ecosystem will have an effect that goes beyond far beyond its natural – or in the case of cultures, national – boundaries. And when we understand that every ecosystem is part of the singular ecosphere that is inhabited by every living breath that fills the world, then do we grasp the interconnectedness, the powerful communion of all life, and our true interdependency on one another. Without such an understanding, we are led to ecocide, the self-destruction of the one ecosphere that sustains all human existence.

Thus it is that we come before you today, highlighting this Year of Intercultural Dialogue, bringing parables from the natural world to affirm your transcendent human values. As an institution, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has lived as a relatively small ecosystem within a much larger culture for centuries. Out of this long experience, allow us to suggest the most important practical characteristic that enables the work of intercultural dialogue to succeed.

Chiefly and above all, there must be respect for the rights of the minority within every majority. When and where the rights of the minority are observed, the society will for the most part be just and tolerant. In any culture, one segment will always be dominant – whether that dominance is based on race, religion or any other category. Segmentation is inevitable in our diverse world. What we seek to end is fragmentation! Societies that are built upon exclusion and repression cannot last. Or, as the divine Prince of Peace Jesus Christ said: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

Our counsel to all is to recognise that only when we embrace the fullness of shared presence within the ecosphere of human existence, are we then able to face the ‘otherness’ of those around us – majority or minority – with a true sense of the consanguinity of the human family. Then do we behold the stranger amongst us not as an alien, but as a brother or sister in the human family, the family of God. St Paul expounds on pan-human relation and brotherhood quite eloquently and concisely when addressing the Athenians in the first century.

This is why Europe needs to bring Turkey into its project and why Turkey needs to foster intercultural dialogue and tolerance in order to be accepted into the European project. Europe should not see any religion that is tolerant of others and respectful to the others as alien to itself. The great religions, like the European project, can be a force that transcends nationalism and can even transcend nihilism and fundamentalism by focusing their faithful on what unites us as human beings, and by fostering a dialogue about what divides us.

From our country, Turkey, we perceive both a welcome to a new economic and trading partner, but we also feel the hesitation that comes from embracing, as an equal, a country that is predominantly Muslim. And yet Europe is filled with millions of Muslims who have come here from all sorts of backgrounds and causations; just as Europe would still be filled with Jews, had it not been for the horrors of the Second World War.

Indeed, it is not only non-Christians that Europe must encounter, but Christians who do not fit into the categories of Catholic or Protestant. The resurgence of the Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain has truly been a marvel for the world to behold. The segmentation of Eastern Europe has led to fragmentation in many places. Not only does the centre not hold; it is hardly discernible. Through this process, as nation states strive to re-establish themselves, it is the Orthodox Christian faith that has risen, even above economic indicators, to a new status that could not have been predicted even 20 years ago.

One of the vital roles of our Ecumenical Patriarchate is to assist in the process of growth and expansion that is taking place in traditional Orthodox countries, by holding fast as the canonical norm for the worldwide Orthodox Church, over a quarter of a billion people around the globe. At this moment, we wish to inform you, dear friends, that in October – next month – at our invitation, all the Heads of the Orthodox Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches will meet in Istanbul, in order to discuss our common problems and to strengthen Pan-Orthodox unity and cooperation. Simultaneously, we will also concelebrate the two thousand years since the birth of the Apostle of the Nations, St Paul.

Currently in the City (Istanbul) we are experiencing great joy and enthusiasm as we are all preparing for its celebration as the European Capital of Culture in the year 2010. The City, which has a long history, was a crossroads for gatherings of people and served as a place of cohabitation of diverse religions and cultures. This past week, we attended a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister of Turkey in honour of the Prime Minister of Spain. As is public knowledge, both are co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilisations under the auspices of the United Nations. We heard their wonderful speeches, which were harmonious with the diachronic tolerant spirit of our City.

And now dear friends, please allow us to conclude in French in order to honour the French presidency, and also because this week you celebrate the European Day of Languages, I think next Friday.

Excellence, Mesdames et Messieurs les députés du Parlement européen, le patriarcat œcuménique réaffirme sa volonté de contribuer de toutes ses forces à la paix et à la prospérité de l'Union européenne. Nous sommes prêts à vous rejoindre dans d'autres dialogues constructifs comme celui d'aujourd'hui et nous prêterons une oreille attentive aux problèmes actuels.

C'est dans cet esprit que notre patriarcat cultive et nourrit depuis vingt-cinq ans déjà des dialogues de fond avec l'islam et le judaïsme. Nous avons organisé de nombreuses rencontres bilatérales et trilatérales. C'est dans ce cadre qu'au début du mois de novembre, à Athènes, nous reprendrons pour la douzième fois notre dialogue académique avec l'islam.

Parallèlement à ces échanges, nous continuons le dialogue théologique avec les Églises catholique romaine, anglicane, luthérienne, réformées et les anciennes Églises orientales – arménienne, copte, etc. Au mois d'octobre et à l'invitation du pape, nous aurons l'occasion, le privilège même, de prendre la parole lors de la douzième assemblée ordinaire du synode des évêques catholiques du monde réunis au Vatican.

Tout cela pour dire que le patriarcat œcuménique est très actif dans le domaine du dialogue œcuménique, cherchant ainsi à contribuer à une meilleure entente entre les peuples, à la réconciliation, à la paix, à la solidarité et à combattre le fanatisme, la haine et toutes les formes du mal.

Nous tenons à vous remercier pour cette occasion unique de prendre aujourd'hui la parole devant votre Assemblée pour la deuxième fois et nous implorons la miséricorde infinie de Dieu et sa bénédiction pour toutes vos justes entreprises.

Permettez-nous de présenter depuis cette auguste tribune nos meilleurs vœux aux fidèles musulmans du monde entier à l'occasion de la grande fête du ramadan qui approche ainsi qu'aux fidèles juifs de la terre entière, à l'approche de la fête de Roch Hachana. Nous sommes tous frères et sœurs, enfants du même père céleste et sur cette merveilleuse planète, dont nous sommes tous responsables, il y a de la place pour chacun, mais il n'y a pas de place pour la guerre, ni pour ceux qui s'entretuent.

Une fois de plus, nous vous remercions de tout cœur de nous avoir accordé le grand honneur et le privilège de nous adresser à vous aujourd'hui.

(L'Assemblée, debout, applaudit l'orateur)

 
  
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  Der Präsident. − Heiligkeit Patriarch Bartholomäus! Das Europäische Parlament hat Sie dadurch geehrt, dass die Kolleginnen und Kollegen sich von ihren Plätzen erhoben haben, um Ihnen für diese Rede zu danken. Sie haben von pax, vom Frieden mit den Menschen und mit der Schöpfung gesprochen. Dieser Frieden bekommt seine Vollendung durch die Respektierung der Würde des Menschen.

Wir müssen nicht mit allem einig sein, was es an Überzeugungen gibt. Wir müssen es nicht immer akzeptieren, aber wir müssen die Mitmenschen respektieren. Das ist der Kern der Würde des Menschen, und das ist der Kern der Toleranz.

In diesem Sinne möchten wir Ihnen noch einmal sehr herzlich danken, dass Sie Ihren Beitrag zum Europäischen Jahr des Dialogs der Kulturen geleistet haben. Es ist ein wichtiger Beitrag für die Verständigung der Menschen auf unserem Kontinent und in der Welt, für Versöhnung, Frieden und Freiheit.

Herzlichen Dank, Patriarch Bartholomäus!

(Beifall)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. LUIGI COCILOVO
Vicepresidente

 
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