1st International Congress on "Romiosini through the centuries"
Amphitheatre of the War Museum of Athens
Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st of May 2009
Introducer: Head priest George Dionys. Dragas
Professor of Theological Patrology in the School of the Holy Cross, Boston, U.S.A.
Subject: "Romiosini, the Abroad Hellenism, Professing born Patriarchates".
His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Mr. Mr. Theophilos, very reverend, Representative of the His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and all-over Greece Mr. Mr. Jeronimos, Your Reverences, Very Reverends, Reverend fathers, Most eminent Mistresses and Most eminent
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I do firstly owe to express my intensive gratitude the Organizing Committee of the present Congress for the invitation to me and participate in it as a speaker. It constitutes a greatest honor for me to offer whatever service to the Jerusalem Church as well as its most worthy Patriarch Mr. Mr. Theophilos. I met the Beatitude since some years ago, and jointly with him even so many other excellent and devoted Hellenic-Orthodox Holy Tomb brothers who have sacrificed their whole life in serving the Church on the Holy Land and the guarding of sacred pilgrimages that has all blessed the Christ himself with his presence and keep on being blessed by the Holy Spirit and to bless the faithful filigrees who visit them. I am particularly proud and happy for I participate even myself through this Congress under the initiative of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in order to make know in a special way his ministration through the Non-Governmental Organization "Romiosini".
I also, with to express my particular joy as, under the opportunity of this present Congress, I do am again on the fatherly land of the immortal Greece in where I was born and firstly saw the touched and being felled the light of the unbuilt sacred grace of our Master, and where I was being manned and I firstly learned the first Hellenic and Christian letters under of which I have been acquired my Hellenic as well as Christian education and identity. The realization of this Congress here on this free Hellenic land constitutes an unbeaten demonstration that the ecumenical mission of Hellenism is not an already ended question, although the Erinnyes that shouts inside the vortex of the utopic globalization of the contemporary mundane establishment.
The present situation pushes me to repeat that I have always been said to my students abroad: that the to-day Greece is not only the classicism Hellenism who under the Alexander the Great who is still living, but the also marbled faithful king of the Hellenic-Orthodox Romanesque, and Constantinos Dragas, the Paleologist, who is reborn locally as well culturally in all Hellenic-Orthodox colonies of the Orthodox Church. I am absolutely convinced that Greece has been resurrected in order to go on the mission of Romanesquean, that is of the Hellenic-Orthodox Christian Empire of the New Rome, that was the historic distinction as well as the institutional founding of the One, Sacred, Catholic and Apostolical Church, of the undivided Church of the Saint Martyrs, of Fathers, of the Ecumenical Synods, that is of the Orthodox Church, that compose the Priesthood born Patriarchates as well as the newerly autocephalus Orthodox Churches, in them is included also the Church of Greece.
But today, I am here as a Greek of the Greek Diaspora and a clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a pilgrim and official of the Zionist Church, a University professor in Theology firstly in England and then in the United States of America for 35 consecutive years, a permanent resident abroad where I have visited many Universities and participated in tenths congresses and theological dialogues under my double attribute, the academic as well the ecclesiastical ones, in Europe, America and in lots of other parts all over the world. I am here to declare that not only I have maintained my Hellenic-Orthodox identity that I have obtained on the Hellenic land on which I was born and made a man but I have dressed it with his best dressing, the "Hellenic" one. I have done so, a much more than a Greek, a much more Orthodox, a Roman under his best, strongest and wider meaning of the word.
The dressing of Hellenism I obtained in the Hellenic-Orthodox Diaspora, but as somewhat strange if it can be heard, I really took it from the Profess born or Ancient said Patriarchates of all Hellenism, with whom I have been connected through the Diaspora.
Diaspora has sent me to all Patriarchates of Hellenism and the Patriarchates have sent me back to the Diaspora for a more fruitful and ecumenical service. In what a way did that happened?
From the Firstythoned Patriarchate of Hellenism, the Church of New Rome that nowadays keeps on been crucified sorrow less in his own historical center, the Constantinople, but "by divine grace" it resurrected in its Metropolis and Holy monasteries to the four horizons of the ecumenical world and goes on its leading spiritual role inside as well as outside of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolical Church, I received the holiness and blessing in order to serve in so many local and ecumenical missions.
In Fhanari, where I have been many times, I found the vibration, the belief and the greatness of Hellenism, that is of the Hellenic-Orthodox Christian tradition of the Romanesque (that is of the Christianic Empire of the New Rome) that showed up the Church of the All king Christ in the historical being of the world as the most authentic and classical period in the Christianic history of mankind (the golden, the Byzantine millennium, as erudite call it today).
The experiences that I have treasured up during my visits in the Christ's Great Church constitute an unfinished fountain of restoring along my service in the Diaspora.
From the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the New Sion Church, that our Lord founded it by means of its presence, I entered into the wonderful mystery of the Sacred Tomb and the Holy Land that sends out the Holy Light. It is just there I saw "though my own eyes" and touched "by means of my own hands" the historical spiritual sub base of Hellenism, and I also learned to serving there that God has sent me as an Archangel of the Sacred Tomb during the special missions that the Great Church has ordered me and to rise patiently and silently my own cross, as one of all those uncounted philigreses that pass unendly from this over holy Step of Orthodoxy.
When I firstly visited the Holy Land and knew the struggle and sacrifices of so many Holy Tomb brothers and I then told to that time Patriarch Mr. Diodoros and that I would wanted to have one hundred sons and bring them all to the Holy pilgrimages and then all serve jointly the mother Sion.
In the Patriarchate of Antiochia, from where we initially received the name Christians, I mainly learned as a pilgrimaging and visitor professor in the Belementian Theological School that whatever external changes and trials that even provoked in his passing of time the history itself, the Church remains unchanged in his beliefs and castles, as the testings, the difficulties as well as the separations purificate it and send it towards its Holy going with a greater and more authentical decisiveness. In Libanon as well as in Syria I have had untold experiences. I have seen the authenticity of the Hellenic-Orthodox Romiosini speaking Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, French, English in an undescribed harmony and firstly known ecumenism. From the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the great fathers of which Athanasios and Cyrilos, founded the main dogmas of the Orthodox belief, I have entered into the saintfathering theological (dogmatic) tradition, that is the unique tradition which guaranties and keeps the undivided diptych of write doing and Orthodoxy that has given the same being incarnated God inside the Holy tetraform Bible and taught the spirit bearing saint apostles ("Just like Christ has given, the Apostols tought and the Holy Fathers have kept") in accordance to the Great Athanasios, with the writing of whom I have particularly worked, has taught me the criterion of Hellenism, which is the "helping each other", the mutually completing of the manly authority of the state with the spiritual power of the Church, that both are subjected to the All king Christ. In his two apologies bothly explained that the Roman emperor is being transformed or to the "thirteenth of the apostles", or to an "antichrist" when, on the basis of the above criterion of the co-each othering, or he supports the Church against the heresy or the heresy against the Orthodox belief. Alexandria, as a historically second according to the seniority the center of Hellenism, is fighting and achieving great things today in the painful continent of Africa through its saintmisions and inspires with his holyfathering tradition as well as its over valued Egyptian Diaspora for the work of the ecumenical Orthodoxy.
The Patriarchates and Prelates who wear today the crown of the marbled king of Hellenism in the historical centers as well as the other chairs of the Orthodox Churches in those countries where has sanctified the Orthodoxy as well as all over the world the Hellenic-Orthodox Diaspora, in the prays and vigilations of the Orthodox ascetics in the historical centers of the Orthodox spirituality as well as in the newer ones of Diaspora, and in the agony of the faithful Orthodox people for the conservation of the Orthodoxy of the Church and the saving mission all over the world, who come with the candle and incense to participate in the most holy liturgical action of humanity, the Holy thanksgiving, I do have found the golden tradition of Hellenism, of the Hellenic-Orthodox Christian congregation that is dressed even with glory and humiliation in order to bring out and make it of its own the greatness of the eternal saving that offered all over the world the holy and in fleshed economy, that is this in Christ kingship of the One, sanctified and life-giving Trinity.
The present congress, as being referred to the Hellenism, offers me the opportunity to register my own personal witness as a nowadays demonstration that, as the poet has told, "even the Romanesque has passed, still is flowering and also brings a new one".
A I already have said that my own identity is a Hellenic-Orthodox one but with a Romanesque tone, or a Romanesque dressing, that I have obtained or realized abroad, in the Hellenic-Orthodox Diaspora. This means that Hellenism is nowadays ecumenically extended in the Hellenic-Orthodox Diaspora and that the Orthodox Church goes on being the saving Ark of a multinational race of Orthodoxes.
In the contemporary Hellenic-Orthodox Diaspora I do have been face to face in a immediate way and in an every local level with all the spectrum of the Hellenic-Orthodox world, that is, not only with the local Hellenism of the modern Hellenic state, but with the wider Hellenism of those "lost motherlands" of the Hellenic-Orthodox Romans who out rooted from its long timing and historical living homes in the Romanescan geographical area and was worldwide spread to the Western Europe, America, Australia and allover the world because of historical coincidences, and evenly the warring and political rearrangements during the last two centuries (19th and 20th).
So, us an abroad Greek I have learned to overcome all whatever localistic and narrow nationalistic obstacles and be an ecumenical and over national.
In other words I have learned to be a Hellenic-Orthodox Greek as I do have learned to be inspired of the most widely possibly (panhumanly) cultural criteria, that embrace all those being inspired by the Hellenic-Orthodox Romanesque Christian tradition, that is of the Hellenic-Orthodox, Roman or Byzantine state - as some ones used to call it - that for nearly a thousand or so, years (since the founding of New Rome up to its fall in 1453) it was overruled in the worldwide history. Such a tradition projected a Theodotus and an ecumenical civilization that would have as a first order perspective of in into a spiritual unification of all people through the Church. To this one are today turned in wonder and unthinkable scientific care the historians of the West, the Byzantinists, the art historians, the scientists. In the Hellenic-Orthodox Diaspora I have learned that even if Romanesquian - as a political influent sphere has already passed, but as a cultural and spiritual tradition goes on flowering and fruits producing as a hope bringing unification spiritual power. In other words, it goes on working as a Hellenic-Orthodox community, as an ecumenic Hellenism.
In the contemporary Hellenic Diaspora one meets Hellenic-Orthodoxians today from Constantinople, Asia Minor, the Balkans, Russia, that is Greeks who are by conscience been naturalized as Romans Hellenic-Orthodoxian Christians, independently of their origin country of theirs. In their paroquies in which I have served and I actually serve as a priest, I had as I do have as members Roman Orthodoxes even from other Pontian cities, in Caesarea of Cappadocia, Smyrna as well the Western cities of the Jonian land of Minor Asia, Beirut, Damascus and other cities of Syria, Jerusalem, the Sacred Land of Phalestine, the martyric Cyprus, Crete, the Greek islands, Alexandria, Ethiopia, the Hellenic communities in the Azofia, Constanza of Romania, Barna, the Meridional Europe as well the other regions of the Eastern Romilia, the today Bulgaria, the North Epirus of the nowadays Albania, Macedonia as well.
The list is so impressive, as an unended. The historical memories of our descents constitute an invaluable treasure, as well as an epopee without precedent that shows up the intertiming greatness and the through timing mission of Hellenism.
With all these I do participate to the longings, agonies, historic memory, distant as well recent, vigor and gallantry, braveness and liberation.
This way my identity has been irrevocably overnationalistic and by all means ecumenical. So, I have been up to no-more a Greek as it is steadily inside me the conscience that my identity cannot be but a Hellenic-Orthodox Greek and not only just Hellenic.
So, I became conscious that my reference is the Ecumenic Patriarchate of the New Rome, the Constantinople, that jointly to the Priest born, or Priest glorious Patriarchates constitute the nucleus of the imperishable Hellenic-Orthodox tradition, of Hellenism, that have been born and belong to all newer Orthodox Churches - the Autocephalous as well as the Self Governed ones, as they are called today in their Orthodox people - that constitute the One, Sacred, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.
The nowadays Orthodox Church is the real heir of Hellenism, as it is a condition for us that it constitutes the One, Undivided and beyond of any over national society of Churches that do follow the Hellenic-Orthodox tradition of the historical Hellenism, also constitute the continuing its presence in the all-including reality of the modern world. My important professor father George Florosky, being a Russian in accordance to his national origin, he was saying it emphatically in his speeches: "As Christian Orthodoxes we all are Greeks. Not simply Greeks under the ancient, classical meaning, but under the Hellenic-Orthodox one, that is with the Hellenism that was baptized by the Apostles and Fathers in Christ, to the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, that constituted on the ecumenic basis of the One, Sacred, Catholic and Apostolic Church that includes lots of people and "in force", the whole world". He naturally, meant the Hellenic-Orthodox Romiosini.
In a certain class of him in the Prinston University, said the wise professor in an extreme seriousness, adding the following: "If the Russians and the Americans would not be done Greeks, so they should not be saved neither them nor the whole world!" And added then, being addressed to me: "You really do know what i mean. I mean that if they will not be Greek-Orthodox Christians". In the Diaspora to-day is being done an important talking among the theological circles on what about did he mean Florofsky talking on the modern need of the "Neofatheric composition".
His Beatitude, Saind Boshops, Priests,
I do believe that the "new fathering composition" of the remembered father Florofski is referred to the spiritual/cultural regrouping of the wider modern, Hellenic-Orthodox Hellenism, that has to go on to be an over national and ecumenical and to include all the Orthodox people as well as the Orthodox Diaspora to overspread all over the world entire. This enlarged Hellenism base should be go on being the Orthodox Church of the historic Hellenism, of the Father born and Old said Patriarchates of the One, Sacred, Catholic and Apostolic Church, as well as of its common Orthodox heir. And just so, is what it is asked for, of the Saint and Great Pan-Orthodox Congregation the readiness of which is re coming again and again on to the historical first place.
The nowadays wide shape of the Orthodox Church includes: 1st the Ecumenical Patriarchate of New Rome, of the Constantinople, as well as the other three Father born Patriarchates, of Alexandria, Antiochia and Jerusalem, 2nd the newborn Patriarchates, Moscva (1593), Servia (1897), Romania (1925), Bulgaria (1961), Georgia (1991), and 3rd the Autocephalous Apostolic Church of Cyprus, as well as the newborn Autocephalous Churches, of Greece (1850), Poland (1927), Albania (1937), and the ones of Chechia and Slovakia (1998).
But what it is asking for is how should be unchanged and undivided the Hellenic-Orthodox tradition of Hellenism in the modern Orthodox Church without being influenced its own contemporarian widespread by the surrounding cultural situation, that has a problematic character, because of its out worlding projection. In order to achieve such a given item the newborn Patriarchates as well as the new formed autocephalous Orthodox Churches should follow the saind fathering holy tradition of the Orthodox faith and the order of the father born Patriarchates and maintain unchanged and absolutely adapted to its god given origins as well as to its saint spiritual historic ongoing.
But unfortunately, such a thing is not so self-understood today, as the political transformations that have come out after the fall of Romanesque, as well as due to the geographical area of its influence as to the wider political place, have provoked the presence of new dangers that have thread the change in the believing of the thinking of the Orthodox people and the wholeness of their internal cultural tradition. Such dangers have been particularly filed mainly during the last two centuries on the presence of new political and cultural reformations, that brought as a result the founding of newborn states and autocephalous churches among the Orthodox people that provoked conflicts and differentiations, that is in the modern widen Orthodox Church and its modern Diaspora. The history of these changes is known and I shall not refer to it. But I should like to stress that the modern trends of racism, nationalism and all other modern ideological by sidings of the in world and worldwide politics of this history that are still threatening the Hellenic-Christian cultural heir of Hellenism of the Orthodox people. It is threatening by a substantial change - and to express it in a different way - the "Byzantium after the Byzantium", as it has called the continuing presence of Hellenism in the Orthodox people the newer historians. A change in this matter should be destructive for the Orthodox people as it estranges them from their historical identity and leading cultural going on and mission towards their historical being of the world. So, that is really asked in the Orthodox Church nowadays is the conservation of the ecumenical traditions of Hellenism in the vortex of the actual crisis in the world.
It is obvious that the role of the Orthodox Church to this item is critical, as the Orthodox Church keeps on being the main representative of Hellenism so to its in fractures as to its own content. But by no means should be the newborn Churches to let their people to giving their own ecumenical cultural and spiritual heir, their Holy and Sacred dreams of the Hellenism, to the storm of a worldwide that levels in a final analysis the same human himself as it estranges him from the in Christ salvation, that is the holy revelation, and god human history. The Hellenic-Orthodox tradition of Hellenism is the ecumenic Christian civilization that have heired the Orthodox people and that is particularly needed today the modern world in order to face the worldwide crisis that move and shock everyone.
The historical unity, sequel and coherence of the Orthodox Church constitute an extremely strong healing antidote to the nowadays problematic, political and cultural pluralism. Such a spiritual heir of Hellenism shall conserve and show up through a modern "new fathering composition" - in order to use a term of the modern father of the Orthodox Diaspora, my professor father George Florofsky - the newborn Churches of the Orthodox people in their own lands as well as to their Diaspora. This way they go up the historic ecumenical and God given mission of them by projecting the authentic spiritual and cultural unity and wholeness of the Orthodox Church in the cultural frames of the modern society. This exactly is been seen that is aiming at by the modern pan orthodox meetings, as well as even to the whole effort of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to organize the Orthodox Diaspora on the basis of the regular Archdioceses and Metropoles that have been founded in the 20th century the First throned Patriarchate of Hellenism, continuing on his ethnarchical role, although the external adversities that has created the modern history.
Since the beginning of the 20th century up to our days has founded the following regular Archdioceses and Exarchates: Thyateiron and Great Britain (1922), America (1922), Australia (1963), Germany (1963), Austria (1963), Sweden (1969), Belgium (1969), New Zealand (1970), Switzerland (1982), Italy (1996), Toronto (1996), Buenos Aires (1996), Mexico (1996), Hong Kong (1996), Spain (2003), Korea (2004) and Singapore (2008). Just aside to all them there are certainly and other various national and holly missioned Metropoles that have being founded allover the Diaspora and mainly to the Newborn Patriarchates as well as newly created Churches, many of which are not subjected to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The item of unity and regular ecclesiastical arrangement of the Orthodox Diaspora is one of the last ones in the thematic of the next pan-orthodox congress. I do should say, on the other side, that is the first one in importance, as is directly connected to the ecumenical evidence and is a mission of the Orthodox Church in the modern world. I believe that even today under the grace of the Lord of the Church should be imposed the fathering calmness, and even the so many difficulties that creates the actual cultural framework, is to prevail the new fathering composition of the Orthodox tradition of Hellenism for the saving of the world.
This way exactly the message that has brought up this Congress from the Holy Tomb the Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Mr. Mr. Theophilos the 3rd.
His Beatitude stressed particularly the close relation of Hellenism with the Orthodox Christian Church that has an ecumenical and saving character and although all the historical crisis and ecclesiological up and downs of the same. It still goes on, said the Beatitude, and then he follows on the historical and through timing continuity, Romiosini up to the end of the world, as its relays on the fact that the Enfleshment of the world that took place historically in Jerusalem.
In reality the Church that Christ founded in Jerusalem had three main historical (cultural we should say rather today) characteristics that symbolically are described as well as periphrastically in the inscriptions on the Cross of Christ that were written "in letters Hellenicals and Romans and Hebraics". Christianism has come out of Judaism, but its historic, political and cultural sub-base was Roman-Hellenistic. The Hellenistic element showed up important for Christianism, as by means of the same exposed the apostles and fathers of the Church the Hellenic-Orthodox ecumenical and over national Hellenism that is saved up to our days in the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox people and in that there are all the god given means for a modern settling down and renewal of the world.
Allow me to close up with a variation in the verses of the poet: "Romanesque has no passed, is still flowering and brings more and more"!