ORTHODOX HANDBOOK ON ECUMENISM
Why do we participate in the ecumenical movement? The answer is simple: because the mission and vision of the Church require it. The Church cannot escape its responsibility and opportunity to give an answer to everyone, who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have- and to do this with gentleness and respect''. ( 1 Peter 3.15) As Orthodox Christians, we have no right to ignore the world around us; this world requires our presence and voice wherever it can be heard, precisely where we feel uncomfortable. For this reason, we wholeheartedly welcome the publication of this Pan – Orthodox Handbook for teaching ecumenism. It is our fervent prayer that ths volume will restore and revive the ecumenical vision among our Churches and espcially among the younger generation, who are called to sustain and expand it in the years to come. BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Comstantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch We highly recommend the publication of this new Orthodox Handbook for Teaching Ecumenism edited by a group of orthodox theologians in colloboration with WCC/ETE Program, the Conference of European Churches, Volos Academy for Theological Studies in Greece, and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusett. This Handbook which is part of a broader ETE project of publishing resource books for theological education and teaching ecumenism in different settings is in many ways a historic publication. While this Handbook is written by Orthodox authors and is addressed primarily to the Eastern Orthodox, I am sure that it will be useful also for a broader constituency, especially for those who are interested in Orthodox understanding of Church unity and want to learn more about how the Orthodox perceiveand relate with the modern ecumenical movement and with other Christian traditions.