(16-9-2009) / Julian (3-9-2009).
His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III was visited by Dr.
Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Bishop of Regensburg, Dr. Heinrich Mussinghoff,
Bishop of Aachen and Dr. Gerhard Feige, Bishop of Magdeburg of the Roman
Catholic Church, along with a small entourage group, in the framework of
their visit as a mission to the Holy Land, in order to become acquainted with
the Churches of the Middle East and to reinforce the Christian presence in
The Bishop of Regensburg Dr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, when
addressing His Beatitude, made a reference to the contribution of the
Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the theology of the Church through its stance
of supporting the Christological Dogma of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of
Chalcedon in 451 A.D., the stance of Patriarch Sophronios who had supported the
two wills and energies of our Lord Jesus Christ, the stance of the
Jerusalem Patriarchate during the Iconomachy dispute, and also during the ongoing
theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church nowadays.
He then handed
His Beatitude the medal of the Regensburg Institute for the teaching of the
German language to students originating from the Eastern Churches. The
Acting Director of this Institute, clergyman
Dr. Nikolaus Wyrwoll, was one of the accompanying entourage of
the Roman Catholic Arch-priests.
In his response,
His Beatitude welcomed the Bishop of Regensburg
Dr. Müller and his entourage to Jerusalem; he thanked him
for his words regarding the stance of the Jerusalem Patriarchate during the
periods of crisis in the Church, as well as for his collaboration in favour
of the union of the Churches.
said His Beatitude, «is significant for the
Christian presence in the Holy Land; it is a visit of solidarity. You are
familiar with the dogmas of the Church and with ecclesiastic history. You are
also familiar with the current political situation. We, however, are living
inside it. There is here a familiar political and religious situation, with
its related extensions. Our Patriarchate, has, through the
ages, cultivated a spirit of peaceful coexistence with Islam and Judaism. We
are not talking about a dialogue, or a relationship, but a coexistence.
We respect the sacred pilgrim sites of all three religions. Jerusalem
herself is a Holy City for all three religions. Jerusalem has been
sanctified by the blood of the prophets and of Jesus Christ. There is room
for the followers of all three religions. The political resolution to the
problem of Jerusalem concerns others. We are duty-bound to preserve the
singularity of Jerusalem. The diminishing Christian element does not
«fear not the small flock». (Luke 12:32).
Everyone is familiar with the contribution and the help offered by the
Christian element here. In parallel, however, the Christians are also
in need of help and support. These have at times been referred to as a «community»
- a reference that is not valid, given that the Christians here are
indigenous. As regards the theological dialogue, we are in favour;
however, we do not look to it with any anxiety. We believe that we should be
striving for a unity of faith, and not of administration.»
Continuing his address, His
Beatitude said that the ecclesiastic dialogue should also include monks, who
do not confuse
«speculation with revelation»; they know that Christianity
does not involve speculation. They know what the truth is: that a
Christian's goal is deification. The representatives of the theological
dialogue between the Churches and the leaders of the Churches should be
pleased, if both levels of dialogue were to coexist; that is,
love and truth. Not love alone.
His Beatitude stressed that it is about time both Churches
examined what divides them, and not what the elements
that unite them are.
«The elements that unite them have been discussed
exhaustively in the past. The beginning of our unity in the faith is
found in the recognition of our weaknesses. It is time that we
operated on our wounds.»
From the Chief-Secretariat.