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Thursday, September 6, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Man, the Custodian of Creation" is the theme of the twentieth International Ecumenical Congress of Orthodox Spirituality, which began yesterday in the Italian monastery of Bose. The event is due to conclude on 8 September.

"In the Christian tradition of both East and West, dwelling on the earth is a task entrusted to mankind as custodians but also as guests of creation", reads a communique on the event. This topic will be developed on the first day of the congress in talks by Fr. Enzo Bianchi, prior of the monastic community of Bose, and by His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent a telegram to participants, expressing the hope that "the fraternal encounter and discussions of these days may favour mutual knowledge and the sharing of faith, arousing and renewing a joint commitment to protect God's gift of the creation".

The congress is being attended by representatives from the Orthodox Churches and from the Catholic Church. Catholic representatives include Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, vice dean of the College of Cardinals; Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, and Bishop Mansueto Bianchi of Pistoia, Italy, president of the Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue of the Italian Episcopal Conference. Also present will be representatives from the Church of England and from the Reform Churches, the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as well as theologians and academics from all over the world.

The communique continues: "During the four days of meetings and debates, which are open to the public, speakers will examine the theological and spiritual dimensions of man's relationship with his environment, seeking values capable of inspiring responsible choices in the face of the ecological crisis, which has been provoked by man himself and is causing irreversible damage to life on our planet".

Orthodox Church teaching on ecological matters will be presented by Bishop Amvrosij, rector of the Theological Academy of Saint Petersburg, while the scholars John Behr of New York, Nestor Kavvadas of Tubingen and Assaad Elias Kattan of Munster will speak on such subjects as: the goodness of creation according to biblical narrative, the relationship between wounded and healed nature and the history of salvation, and the understanding of the relationship between human beings and the creation in the Fathers of the Church from Irenaeus of Lyons to Maximus the Confessor.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Irena Vaisvilaite, the new ambassador of Lithuania to the Holy See, for the presentation of her Letters of Credence.

- Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium.

- Twelve prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez Carvajal C.I.M. of Cartagena.

- Bishop Luis Jose Rueda Aparicio of Montelibano.

- Bishop Nel H. Beltran Santamaria of Sincelejo.

- Fr. Orlando Lopez Vergara, apostolic administrator of Monteria.

- Archbishop Gonzalo Restrepo Restrepo of Manizales.

- Bishop Fabio Duque Jaramillo O.F.M. of Garzon, apostolic administrator of Armenia.

- Bishop Oscar Anibal Salazar Gomez of La Dorada - Guanduas.

- Bishop Rigoberto Corredor Bermudez of Pereira.

- Archbishop Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Edgar Aristizabal Quintero, Hugo Alberto Torres Marin and Elkin Fernando Alvarez Botero.
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