A visit by bishops of the German Roman Catholic church to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
From the website of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Translated by OODE: http://www.oodegr.com/english/papismos/GermanBishopsVisit.htm
Gregorian (16-9-2009)/Julian (3-9-2009).
On Wednesday, the 3/16-9-2009, His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III was visited by Dr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Bishop of Regensburg, Dr. Heinrich Mussinghoff, Bishop of Aachen and Dr. Gerhard Feige, Bishop of Magdeburg of the Roman Catholic Church, along with a small entourage group, in the framework of their visit as a mission to the Holy Land, in order to become acquainted with the Churches of the Middle East and to reinforce the Christian presence in that territory.
The Bishop of Regensburg Dr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, when addressing His Beatitude, made a reference to the contribution of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the theology of the Church through its stance of supporting the Christological Dogma of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., the stance of Patriarch Sophronios who had supported the two wills and energies of our Lord Jesus Christ, the stance of the Jerusalem Patriarchate during the Iconomachy dispute, and also during the ongoing theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church nowadays.
He then handed His Beatitude the medal of the Regensburg Institute for the teaching of the German language to students originating from the Eastern Churches. The Acting Director of this Institute, clergyman Dr. Nikolaus Wyrwoll, was one of the accompanying entourage of the Roman Catholic Arch-priests.
In his response, His Beatitude welcomed the Bishop of Regensburg Dr. Müller and his entourage to Jerusalem; he thanked him for his words regarding the stance of the Jerusalem Patriarchate during the periods of crisis in the Church, as well as for his collaboration in favour of the union of the Churches.
«Your visit», said His Beatitude, «is significant for the Christian presence in the Holy Land; it is a visit of solidarity. You are familiar with the dogmas of the Church and with ecclesiastic history. You are also familiar with the current political situation. We, however, are living inside it. There is here a familiar political and religious situation, with its related extensions. Our Patriarchate, has, through the ages, cultivated a spirit of peaceful coexistence with Islam and Judaism. We are not talking about a dialogue, or a relationship, but a coexistence. We respect the sacred pilgrim sites of all three religions. Jerusalem herself is a Holy City for all three religions. Jerusalem has been sanctified by the blood of the prophets and of Jesus Christ. There is room for the followers of all three religions. The political resolution to the problem of Jerusalem concerns others. We are duty-bound to preserve the spiritual singularity of Jerusalem. The diminishing Christian element does not scare us: «fear not the small flock». (Luke 12:32). Everyone is familiar with the contribution and the help offered by the Christian element here. In parallel, however, the Christians are also in need of help and support. These have at times been referred to as a «community» - a reference that is not valid, given that the Christians here are indigenous. As regards the theological dialogue, we are in favour; however, we do not look to it with any anxiety. We believe that we should be striving for a unity of faith, and not of administration.»
Continuing his address, His Beatitude said that the ecclesiastic dialogue should also include monks, who do not confuse «speculation with revelation»; they know that Christianity does not involve speculation. They know what the truth is: that a Christian's goal is deification. The representatives of the theological dialogue between the Churches and the leaders of the Churches should be pleased, if both levels of dialogue were to coexist; that is, love and truth. Not love alone.
His Beatitude stressed that it is about time both Churches examined what divides them, and not what the elements that unite them are.
«The elements that unite them have been discussed exhaustively in the past. The beginning of our unity in the faith is found in the recognition of our weaknesses. It is time that we operated on our wounds.»
From the Chief-Secretariat.