Lutherans 24/07/98 (English)
Message of His Beatitude Petros VII Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa to the Lutheran - Orthodox Joint Commission
Sigtuna - Sweden
31st July - 8th August
With this My Patriarchal and Fraternal Letter I greet you all in the name of our Triune God. With the Grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who gave His Blood for the salvation of the whole world, representatives of the Orthodox and Lutheran Churches join together, once again.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, the See of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, is proud to participate in the Lutheran - Orthodox Joint Commission aiming at the unity of the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. For unity in faith of those who believe and confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, is the Will of Him Who reconciled us to His Father. If we practice Christís commandment, we shall remain in His Love (John 15:10). "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
You came to this city of Sigtuna, invited by the Lutheran Church, united with the spirit of love in Christ, to examine the ways by which both Churches will be able to find ways to clarify the basic and essential teachings of our Christian faith and doctrines. The aim of these meetings are to fulfill the Will of our Lord in bringing the two Churches closer to one another. Christ revealed His Will to His holy Apostles, and through them to His Church, "that they may be one" (John 17:11).
This unity of the Church is one in origin, faith, discipline, and essence. All members of the Church constitute the one Body, that of Jesus Christ, and are animated, justified and sanctified by the Grace of the one Holy Spirit. Through our Christian Faith, we are united first to each other and then to our Lord, who is the only Mediator and the only source of our salvation.
Christ revealed the divine Truth to His Church, and it is our responsibility, not only as members of the divine Body of Christ, but especially as elders of His Church to preserve His Truth undefiled and unchanged, without adding or subtracting anything from the Apostolic Teachings and Traditions. This is
an apostolic commandment which was stressed by St. Paul saying, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (1 Thess. 2:15).
I pray that the Grace of the Holy Spirit fulfills the hearts of each and everyone of you with His divine enlightenment, and guides you to His Truth for the glory of the heavenly Father. I congratulate all of you for your love towards our Lord and for all your efforts to clarify His Truth. May the Lord be with you.
With love in Christ.
+ PETROS VII
Pope and Patriarch
of Alexandria and All Africa
In the Great City
July 24th, 1998