Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent virtual greetings to the 45th Clergy-Laity Congress, as it commenced its work for the first time in a virtual setting. Patriarch Bartholomew greeted the over 1,100 delegates.

“With the assent of God, the Giver of all good things, the 45th Clergy-Laity Congress of this great Eparchy of our Ecumenical Throne, the united Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, takes place for the first time virtually, as a result of the difficult circumstances that the pandemic of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 continue to create. As we convey the commendation of the Mother Church and our Patriarchal blessing to all of you, we congratulate you for continuing this beautiful tradition, which, for many decades now, has strengthened the good witness of the Church in light of the demands and challenges of the times, thereby securing the broad participation of the people of God in the Church affairs, the exchange of opinions in a spirit of love and concord, as well as the reaching of decisions beneficial for the mission of the Church.”

His All-Holiness noted most eloquently the necessity for the Church’s engagement with the world:

“The contemporary world and its culture is not some ‘sinful Nineveh,’ whose punishment and destruction by God are desired by those overcome by the ‘Jonah syndrome,’ who believe they are the ‘chosen ones’ in the “’household of the father,’ but have no connection to the contemporary reality, no sensitivity for the adventures of human freedom, and no sharing in the pain of the victims of violence, injustice, and discrimination. Our objective should be a Christian witness and action in the world, which implies engagement and not disengagement, praxis and not just theoria, acceptance and not just rejection, dialogue and not just barren disputation.”