“Depicting the present state of the ecumenical movement in terms of crisis has become a general trend; I do not share this approach” stated His Holiness Aram I. He said that “seeking new vision, redefining its orientation, revising its agenda, restructuring its programmatic priorities are integral to the very nature of the ecumenical movement”. Catholicos Aram, who has served 15 years a Moderator of the World Council of Churches, reminded that “with ecumenism we are dealing with movement, not institution, with vision not programme, with fellowship, not with management”. Hence, according to Aram I reducing the ecumenical movement to its institutional expression will be the end of it.

Aram I believes that the ecumenical movement must remain “restless, in permanent crisis, seeking new ways of articling its vision”. However, for Aram I the ecumenical movement is actually “disoriented, its focus is not clear and its raison d’être has become shaky. Here is the problem”. In his view this situation is largely due to “non-committal ecumenism of the churches, as well as the shift of interest from church unity related issues to moral-ethical matters, inter-religious dialogue and confessional ecumenism”.

His Holiness stressed the need for a “credible, relevant, reliable and responsive ecumenism, an ecumenism with which the churches can identify themselves”. Aram I said that the discussion on the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement that the WCC started must continue with the active participation of the churches.

These views of Aram I were shared with a few reporters at the end of the meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Charities which was held at the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon, from 27-30 January 2010.


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