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ΙΝΤΕRΝΑΤΙΟΝΑL SCIENTIFIC SYMPOSIUM “ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE” 1600TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (407/2007). Phanar, Istanbul 13-18 September 2007. COMMUNIQUE.

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By the blessing of His All Holiness The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and under His auspices an International Scientific Symposium took place in The City of The Ecumenical Throne with the theme,“Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople”, on the 1600th anniversary from his death (407 / 2007).

This International Symposium was attended by representatives from the Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, Czech and Slovakia, Finland and Esthonia, as well as from the Theological Faculties Schools of Theology, Institutes and of Athens, Thessalonica, St. Petersburg, Holy Cross in Boston, St. Sergius in Paris, Chambésy in Switzerland, Munich of Germany, Bucharest, Sibiu and Iassy of Romania, St. Klement in Sofia and Joensuu in Finland, as well as an official delegation from the Holy Mountain, Athos. 

The Scientific Symposium included approximately 80 invited scholars who specialized on the life, the literary work and the ecclesiastical ministry of this great Father and Ecumenical Teacher of the Church. These scholars, coming not only from the Orthodox Church, but also from other Christian Churches, demonstrated through their erudite and specialized lectures, and through their interventions in discussions the inestimable contribution and diachronic value of the apostolic example and theological witness of this celebrated Holy Father, not only for the Ecumenical Throne, or the Orthodox Church, but also for all the Christian Churches in throughout the world.

His All Holiness The Ecumenical Patriarch declared the opening of the proceedings of the Scientific Symposium at the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross in the Sacred Patriarchal Church at the Phanar by means of an inspired festive homily on the special meaning of the celebratory activities the anniversary:

“We consider it the greatest honor and blessing that Saint John Chrysostom is our predecessor in the See of this Ecumenical Throne, New Rome… Consequently, we are the successor of this blessed Hierarch in the administration of this church and at the same time of all the oikoumene of the Orthodox Church, by means of service and kenotic oblation. These things comprise a confirmation of the stability of this Throne, which produces blessings for all and is an example for us…We marvel at the variety of these spiritual gifts, as we study his sacred writings, and we glorify our God in Trinity who has so glorified the human race…As the eye of the whole universe, he was concerned that all people should “come to the knowledge of truth” (1 Tim. 2:4) and so he organized missionary ventures into the lands of the Goths, Scythians, Celts, Persians and Phoenicians. He was truly a great and vigilant eye for the entire world. This profoundly inspired man toiled greatly for all people living in every corner of the earth so they may know the truth, namely Christ, in order that they might enjoy the wealth of His goodness and loving kindness”.
 
The proceedings of the Symposium were conducted in plenary sessions under the presidency of H.E. Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima. The participants in the Symposium attended the Divine Liturgy on Sunday the 16th of September, Feast of St. Euphemia at the Patriarchal Cathedral and were generously hosted by the Mother Church and had the opportunity to visit Saint Sophia, the Monastery of Chora, museums and other archeological sites of The City.

The presentations projected the broader impact of the Saint’s person and work not only in the Orthodox Church, but also in the theological traditions of the West and of the Ancient Pre-Chalcedonian Oriental Churches (The Coptic, the Syriac, etc.), as this is concluded from the manuscript tradition and the relevant theological literature.

In this spirit, the presentations, arranged under thematic units, and the interventions of the participants of the Symposium exposed significant aspects of the exceptional spiritual personality of the Golden Mouth, the unique synthesis of the message of Theology with the mystery of the Church and of the exemplary Apostolic model of his entire ecclesiastical diakonia from the caves of the desert of Antioch to the Throne of Constantinople until his death in exile.

So, emphasis was laid, through the speeches and discussions, on the rich spiritual charismas granted by God, the broadest secular and ecclesiastical literacy, the harmonious combination of ascetic spirituality and liturgical experience, the coexistence of pastoral ministry and witness of faith to those near and those afar, the ecumenical and diachronic radiance of his personality recorded in the conscience, theology and art of the Church in the East and West, the due protection of the unity of the Church on the local and ecumenical perspective in the truth of the faith and in the bond of love.  It was also stressed the outstanding ministry of the “Primus” in the communion of the local Churches; the indissoluble relation of Ecclesiology to Christology and Pneumatology and the manifestation of the mystery of the Church and of the unity of the ecclesiastical body in the divine Eucharist and in the entire sacramental experience.  Furthermore, it was underlined  the great responsibility of the pastors for the formation and salvation of the People of God, the faithful observance of the canonical order and the synodal prevention or healing of serious ecclesiastical problems, the sleepless care for the return of the schismatics in the bosom of the Church through theological dialogue in love and in truth, and the extension of the Altar Table in the world through philanthropy extended to all.   

The Ecumenical Patriarch closed the works of the Symposium saying, that “the life of the holy Chrysostom is for us a firm foundation of our hope for the transformation of our life into an indestructible and God-like life” and expressed his thanks to all for their participation and contribution for the achievement of the goals of the symposium.