On 22-23 April 2017, the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy (Geneva, Switzerland) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation and the 20 years of activity of its Institute of Postgraduate Studies, as well as the 25th anniversary of the election of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who visited Geneva on that occasion. An academic ceremony on Saturday 22 April marked the threefold anniversary during which several communications presented the history and the activities of the Orthodox Centre.
The festivities were opened Saturday, April 22, by a concert of Byzantine music dedicated to the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord.
Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland, Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Bishop Makarios of Lampsakos and other representative figures delivered public addresses
In his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew retraced the history of the foundation and the multiple contributions of the Orthodox Centre by honouring major Orthodox figures of the 20th century who played a major role in its activities. “On the site of this Centre, there were moments and decisions were made that have been decisive for the progress of inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian relations (…) This Centre is the product of the encounter of the human faith and the power of God” — said the Ecumenical Patriarch.
On Sunday 23 April a solemn Divine Liturgy was presided by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the stavropegic church of Saint Paul the Apostle of Nations in concelebration of seven bishops as well as priests and deacons from Germany, Greece, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey, in the presence of clergy, diplomats and a large assembly of believers.
On Monday 24 April, an academic ceremony took place at the University of Fribourg, which marked the twenty years of fruitful collaboration of the University with the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies of the Orthodox Centre of Chambésy. The Ecumenical Patriarch gave the keynote address on “Dialogue as the key of contemporary theology” where he developed the importance of dialogue between Christians, between religions and with the contemporary science and culture.
The Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was founded in June 1966. Its aims, as written in its Patriarchal and Synodic founding Tome, are:
– to inform the Christian world of the West, and especially of Western Europe, about the Orthodox worship and the Orthodox teaching, tradition and Theology;
– to study the theology and spiritual life of other Christian Churches and Confessions;
– to assist the communication between the local Orthodox Churches, and thus to promote orthodox unity;
– to promote the ecumenical spirit through the cultivation of relationships between Orthodoxy and other Christian Churches and Confessions aiming to promote the inter-Christian unity.