Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Ecumenical Gathering To Focus on Resurrection

By FATHER PAUL A. BURKE, Special To The Bulletin | Published April 15, 2010

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has announced an Orthodox-Catholic ecumenical gathering commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord at Holy Spirit Church on Tuesday, April 27, at 7 p.m. This gathering, hosted by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, will emphasize the themes of the Resurrection/Pascha and religious freedom. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and His Eminence, Alexios, Metropolitan of Atlanta, will preside at the event, which will include music from the Chantors of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the traditional choir of Holy Spirit. A reception will follow in McDonough Hall. All are welcome to attend.

The Lord Jesus, at the hour of his Passion, prayed “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). His prayer for unity is echoed by the church in every time and in every place. As never before, there is an urgent need for the unity of all Christians. The Catholic Church is firmly committed to ongoing dialogue with various churches and ecclesial communities in the quest for Christian unity. In his encyclical letter Ut Unum Sint (“May They Be One”), published in 1995, Pope John Paul II wrote: “This unity, which the Lord has bestowed on his Church and in which he wishes to embrace all people, is not something added on, but stands at the very heart of Christ’s mission” (Ut Unum Sint, no. 9).  0

During the Pauline Year, the Ecumenical Patriarch visited Pope Benedict XVI several times. On the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 2008, both the Pope and the Patriarch preached at the Mass for the imposition of the pallium on Metropolitan Archbishops from around the world. His Holiness Bartholomew I noted the considerable progress that has been made in Roman Catholic-Orthodox relations, stating: “Theological dialogue between our churches ‘in faith, truth and love,’ thanks to divine assistance, is moving forward, beyond the considerable difficulties that exist and the known problems. We truly desire and pray for this:  that these challenges may be overcome and the issues may be resolved as quickly as possible so that we may reach the ultimate goal desired for the glory of God.” This goal is full communion between both Churches.

His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, told of a visit he had with the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. The Holy Father had invited His Eminence to dinner, and the archbishop was accompanied to Rome by his official photographer, a Roman Catholic. When the photographer knew of the archbishop’s dinner plans, he asked that he bring with him several rosaries that he had bought for his family, so that the Pope could bless them. The Holy Father blessed the rosaries and then said to Archbishop Demetrios, “Now, my brother, you bless them too.” In recounting the story, Archbishop Demetrios spoke of his love for Pope John Paul II but also of the significance of the Holy Father’s gesture. He said that theological discussions and writings are important, but what are more necessary are concrete gestures of love and friendship; this is how he viewed the incident with the Pope.

Organizers for this ecumenical celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection hope that it will likewise be a concrete expression of the love and esteem between the sister churches.

Holy Spirit Church is located at 4465 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta. For more information, go to