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A Romanian Contribution to Contemporary Ecumenism: Father Ion Bria: 1929-2002.

The year 2019 marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of Father Ion Bria, who is, as far as Romanian theology is concerned, one of the most important Orthodox thinkers after Father Dumitru Staniloae. But he is also very important for contemporary missionary and ecumenical research. Bria's writings--more than 40 books and several hundred studies, articles, chronicles, and book reviews in various journals or books published around the world--are often referred to even today. (1) This demonstrates not only its value, but also the author's commitment to ecumenism and theological dialogue.

Born on 19 June 1929 in the village of Teleaga, in Prahova county in southern Romania, Bria began theological studies in 1950 in Bucharest, after becoming acquainted with Orthodox spirituality between 1945 and 1948 when visiting his sister, a nun in Zamfira monastery. (2) It was there that his ecumenical appetite began to develop, even though his BA thesis, dedicated to the infallibility of the church, (3) had few points of contact with ecumenism. Later on, his PhD thesis, dedicated to the dogmatic aspects of the case of the union of churches, (4) underlined his wish to deepen his understanding of ecumenical reality and the possible Orthodox contribution to its development. Thus he studied between 1962 and 1963 at St Augustine's College in Canterbury, an Anglican institution, and later, in 1966, at the theological faculty in Durham in northern England. His Anglican experience was very important to him, as he would later note in an article published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research:
One of the significant developments in my pilgrimage in mission was the
semester I spent at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury, an Anglican
institute for missiological studies. In 1961, at the World Council of
Churches (WCC) Assembly in New Delhi, the Romanian Orthodox Church
became a full member of the WCC. The following year W. A. Yisser't
Hooft, WCC general secretary, led a WCC delegation to Romania. He
granted the Orthodox Church three scholarships for ecumenical studies.
In the same year, due to the initiative of Metropolitan Justin of Iasi,
Romania, later patriarch (1977-86), the church was involved in the
preliminary work of preparing a pan-Orthodox synod. The church
practiced an ecumenism on two fronts: ecumenical and pan-Orthodox. As a
member of the ecumenical commission of the church, I was glad to affirm
these openings. At New Delhi I translated the reports and later
communicated them to my students.
In Canterbury I met professors and students trom all dioceses of the
Anglican Church. The missi-ological literature section in the library
was impressive. I was asked to write a contemporary profile of the
Orthodox Church. I traveled to London, Oxford, Paris, and Geneva and
discovered that the perception of Eastern Orthodoxy in the West was
largely determined by the writings and influence of Russian Orthodox
theologians and philosophers living in diaspora. In Geneva I enjoyed
meeting the staff of the Bossey Institute. (5)


Bria's new duties as a deacon from 1965 to 1969 and later as a priest; as a lecturer at Buzau theological seminary (1957-1961) (6) and the theological institute at Bucharest (from 1962, with some interruptions); and as editor of the Biblical Institute Press (1966-1968) did not stop his desire to understand ecumenical reality. His works focused on topics such as "synergy," (7) "work of grace," (8) "dogmatic aspects of the Liturgy," (9) "Baptism," (10) "communion," (11) "diakoitia," (12) and other confessional traditions, such as the Anglican. (13) His appointment from 1 July 1973 at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva as coordinator for Orthodox missionary studies in the Commission for Mission and Evangelization, where he remained until his retirement in June 1994, offered Bria the opportunity of getting to know the ecumenical reality in situ and becoming a real artisan of peace and dialogue within the Christian arena.

The Ecumenical Contribution of Ion Bria

As a part of the WCC mission staff, Bria participated in the most important world encounters dedicated to mission, as well as those of the ecumenical movement more generally. This offered him an opportunity to better understand the local realities and theological backgrounds of different churches and to develop a multilateral approach. This also provided the context for the development of his rich publication activities, covering doctrinal and missionary topics as well as church history, pastoral theology, and ethics and spirituality. A prolific writer, he published in journals such as The Ecumenical Review and the International Review of Mission in Geneva, wrote notes on recent books and accounts of various meetings, and offered interesting approaches to comparative theology. It was also the space where he developed his ideas on topics such as "the liturgy after the liturgy," provided an overview of various aspects of Christian reality, and proposed solutions to ecumenical questions.

"The liturgy after the liturgy"

Bria is best known for developing the idea of "the liturgy after the liturgy." (14) Using a term related to worship rather than mission and other aspects of the church's life in the Orthodox space, (15) he not only presents the realities of the Orthodox space but also proposes future lines for dialogue. Pointing to the meaning of the term from the Protestant space, where the Greek word [phrase omitted] (leitourgia) is understood as "the work of the people" and used to define the entire activity of the church, Bria spoke about the need to understand the work of the church as liturgy.

The underlying concept goes back to Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos, who has noted that in 1963 he spoke of how "the Liturgy must be extended to everyday life. And all our life should be transfigured into a liturgy." (16) The concept was discussed at an Orthodox consultation in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, in September 1975 on "Confessing Christ through the Liturgical Life of the Church Today," which stated in its conclusions that the "Liturgy must not be limited to the celebration in the church but has to be continued in the life of the faithful in all dimensions of life." (17) The term "liturgy after the liturgy" was then used at an Orthodox consultation at New Valamo, Finland, in September 1977, which described it as the "liturgical use of the material world, a transformation of human association in society' into Koinonia." (18)

In 1996, Bria published a book titled The Liturgy after the Liturgy: Mission and Witness from an Orthodox Perspective. (19) However, the essence of Bria's thought can be found in a short article published almost 20 years earlier in 1978, reflecting on the Ftchmiadzin meeting of 1975. (20) The consultation had raised the question, Bria writes, about the relationship between "liturgical spirituality," the personal spiritual experience gained by a meaningful participation in the liturgy, and the witness to the gospel in the world, witness that belongs to the very nature of the church and is rooted in the advent of the Spirit at Pentecost. He notes that the consultation was not able to go deeply into the issue of liturgy in life, so participants were asked to provide comments after the consultation. (21) Bria then refers to the comment received from Anastasios, in which Anastasios states:
The liturgy has to be continued in personal, everyday situations. Each
of the faithful is called upon to continue a personal "liturgy" on the
secret altar of his own heart, to realize a living proclamation of the
good news "for the sake of the whole world"... Since the liturgy is
the participation in the great Event of liberation from the demonic
powers, then the continuation of liturgy in lite means a continuous
liberation from the powers of the evil that are working inside us, a
continual re-orientation and openness to insights and efforts aimed at
liberating human persons from all demonic structures of injustice,
exploitation, agony, loneliness, and at creating real communion of
persons in love." (22)


Bria continues by referring to other articles in which the concept can be found, (23) and speaks about the complex meaning of what he here calls "the Liturgy within the Liturgy." This is both essential for the church and has to be understood in all its dimensions. Therefore, the preparation for liturgy, according to Bria, takes place not only at the personal spiritual level, but also at the level of human, historical, and natural realities. (24)

Using his personal experience as well as the biblical foundations and the insights of the church fathers, Bria argues that "the mission of the Church rests upon the radiating and transforming power of the liturgy of the church," (25) a statement that corresponds to the insights of other contemporary Orthodox theologians such as Nikos A. Nissiotis, (26) as well as from the wider ecumenical arena. He describes the "liturgy after the Liturgy" as being "an essential part of the witnessing life of the Church" with four characteristics:

1. An ongoing affirmation of true Christian identity, fullness, and integrity that need constant renewal through eucharistic communion.

2. The seeking of a new witnessing space in each environment (family, society, office, factory, and so on) through adopting new styles of mission and ecclesiastical structures and facing the "irritations of the principalities and powers of this age." (27)

3. A liturgical life that nourishes Christian life not only in its private space but also in its public and political realm.

4. A meaning of liturgy that includes public and collective action and thus a sense in which the Christian is the creator of community.

Bria concludes by noting that through "liturgy after the Liturgy," the church witnesses to the cosmic dimension of the salvation event and puts into practice its missionary vocation, daily and existentially. (28)

The relevance of his presentation and wide application has been noted by Ana Langerak, the later director of the WCC programme unit for Churches in Mission, who quotes Bria's statement that
The church has to struggle for the fulfilment of that justice and
freedom which was promised by God to all people and has constantly to
give account of how the kingdom of heaven is or |is] not within her.
She has to ask herself if by the conservatism of its worship it may
appear to support the violation of human rights inside or outside the
Christian community.


She continues:
Professor Bria's concluding remarks go beyond the personal witness of
individual believers who live out their faith in the context of the
former socialist countries. He also applies the concept of "the liturgy
after the liturgy" to the situation of the Orthodox church itself. The
church needs to engage in the task of re-christianizing Christians, and
to support its members who confess their hope in Christ in the face of
opposition and oppression, as vital aspects of its evangelistic
witness. (29)


Bria's relationship to Orthodox theologians

Of course, Bria's relationship with his home theology is seen also in his relationship with contemporary theologians from his own country. Therefore, it must be mentioned that one of Bria's important contributions to ecumenical movement was to present the ideas of the contemporary Romanian theologian Dumitru Staniloae to an international audience. Bria not only dedicated anniversary texts to Staniloae (30) linking his theology to other important contemporary and past voices, (31) but also invited him to take part in ecumenical activities and present his ideas in WCC publications, (32) underlining the strong relationship existing between Staniloae's thought and his life. Thus, Bria wrote of Staniloae:
Finally, it must be said that Staniloae's theology is the best
expression of his personality. One cannot detach, in his case, the
vision from the style of life. He is a man of extreme tenderness,
courtesy and sensitivity in family, society and faculty. His soft and
fatherly face emanates a fundamental simplicity and sympathy, a healing
calm and serenity which overcome any hardness of heart and aggressive
distance. It is this charismatic mystery of his person, his "ikon,"
which led many students, scholars and friends to become his disciples.
(33)


Bria's capacity of understanding Staniloae's profound thought, his contribution to the trinitarian theology, anthropology, (34) as well as his understanding of the relationship between ethics and spirituality in an original system of thinking" (35) are well emphasized inside the articles published in different journals from the ecumenical space.

Dialogue between the Orthodox churches and the WCC

As well as presenting Staniloae's thought to an ecumenical audience, Bria was intimately involved in the dialogue between the Orthodox churches and the WCC. He attended the main meetings dealing with the role of the church, where he spoke about the chief problems of the dialogue or highlighted the key contributions from the dialogue to the ecumenical arena.

He offered an interesting overview of the history of Orthodoxy in the ecumenical arena (36) and of its contributions to developing dialogue, noting the contribution of Orthodoxy in avoiding the transformation of the ecumenical movement in the direction of a pan-Protestant confederation (37) or underlining the role of unity for the future of ecumenism. (38) He did not avoid speaking about the poor experiences of Orthodox churches in previous dialogue, or underlining the diversity and lack of uniformity among Orthodox churches in different situations, noting that conciliarity is the basis for future dialogue:
There are Orthodox churches which have different external ecumenical
priorities and local experiences. In some countries, the history of the
local church is less affected by the ecumenical movement. In some
places, an introverted mentality prevails and the ecumenical agenda is
presented as being in conflict with their own concerns. There is
sometimes a factual contradiction between the general declaration about
a united Orthodox witness and the concrete and specific contribution of
different local churches.
In spite of that, the Orthodox churches are willing to enter a new
phase of their ecumenical experience. One of the urgent needs is to
manifest a true and full conciliar life at the local level. For the
local church is the beginning and the end of the universal church. "All
in each place" is a starting principle of the ecumenical movement. (39)


As an Orthodox priest, Bria was interested in understanding his confessional realities and in presenting them to others, presenting accounts of various important events that influenced Orthodox life. For example, one is dedicated to the first conference that was planned to prepare the Great Pan-Orthodox Council, which took place at the Orthodox Centre of the Fxumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy in November 1976. (40) This article is important not only for the description of the event, but also because of some of Bria's prophetic approaches. Bria then presented the ten points of dialogue proposed for the debate, (41) anticipating the fact that some would be changed and also proposing new important aspects for debate.

Bria's Orthodox background influenced his approach to ecumenism. (42) In his books or the articles, he referred to the "martyria" understood as witnessing to the truth and defining its identity in a climate of love and respect for the others. As he noted in an autobiographical article:
During my work with the WCC (1973-94), I moved to various departments
of the council, trying to elaborate the specificity of Orthodox
martyria and to incorporate it and its contribution into the ecumenical
movement. Through a series of seminars, consultations, studies, and
visits, and with the participation of all Orthodox churches, faculties,
and centres, it was possible to agree on several basic affirmations
that constitute today the Orthodox contribution to an ecumenical
missiology.


This commitment to witnessing to Christ in truth and love guided Bria in his work of presenting the landmarks of his church theology, underlining the relevance of love in understanding the faith, the universality of the message of gospel, (44) or the role of women. (45) Later, when new challenges faced ecumenical dialogue after the fall of communism, Bria was not afraid to address them. Therefore, in an article published in 1999, he described the situation of Romania at that time, speaking about the difficulties around the proselytizing attitude of Pentecostals or the patrimonial and theological issues in the complicated relationships with the Greek-Catholic Church in Transylvania. (46) At the moment of his death, he was working on the results of the WCC's 1998 assembly in Harare, (47) focusing on the withdrawal of two Orthodox churches from the WCC. (48)

Conclusion

As this presentation has attempted to demonstrate, Father Ion Bria was possessed of a vocation committed to ecumenism. Through topics like "martyria," "liturgy after the liturgy," accounts and presentation of debates and theological events, or by presenting the life and work of personalities like Father Dumitru Staniloae, Bria contributed to a better understanding of the Orthodox realities and Orthodox contribution to ecumenism and missiology and offered new topics of debate. By presenting sensitive aspects or even challenges of interconfessional life from the former communist countries after 1989, he provided a mirror for the WCC. Dedicated up to his death to the confession of Christ in love and respect for the others but also interested in deepening ecumenical realities, he was one of the most important Orthodox voices from the ecumenical arena. Together with Nikos A. Nissiotis, Daniel Ciobotea, the future Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Kallistos Ware, and others, he was one of the important Orthodox thinkers who not only helped promote an understanding of Orthodoxy, but created bridges and possibilities of ecumenical dialogue and acting together in a climate of life and diversity.

Iuliu-Marius Morariu

Iuliu-Marius Morariu is a Romanian Orthodox hieromonk and a PhD candidate at the Facuity of Orthodox Theology, "Babes-Bolyai" University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He is an associate researcher in the Department of Dogmatics, Faculty of Reformed Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

(1) On 14-17 May 2009, the "Andrei Saguna" Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Sibiu held an international conference dedicated to Bria's work and contribution to missionary theology. The lectures were later brought together in a hook dedicated to the event. See Nicolae Mosoiu, ed., the Relevance of Reverend Professor Ion Bria's Work for Contemporary Society and for the Life of the Church: Sen Directions in the Research of Church Doctrine. Mission, and Unity (Sibiu: Andreiana Press, 2010). See Daniel Buda, "The Relevance of Reverend Professor Ion Bria's Work for Contemporary Society and for the Life of the Church," Ecumenical Review 62:4 (2010), 433-35.

(2) Ion Bria, "My Pilgrimage in Mission," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 26:2 (2002), 74.

(3) A summary was published few years later in Ortodoxia, one of the most important theological journals. See Ion Bria, "Infailibilitatea Biscricii" [The infallibility of the Church], in Ortodoxia 12:4 (1960), 494-504.

(4) The conclusions of this thesis, defended in 1968, were published the next year in Istina, a journal published in Paris. See Ion Bria, "Orient et Occident," Istina 14:2 (1969), 193-250. The entire thesis was published as a special issue in Stndii Teologice (Theological Studies), the journal of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate. See Ion Bria, "Aspccte dogmatice ale unirii Bisericilor (teza de doctorat)" [Dogmatic aspects of the union of churches (PhD Thesis)], Studii Teologice 20:1 (1968), 3-170.

(5) Ion Bria, "My Pilgrimage in Mission," 75.

(6) There he introduced missionary theology and ecumenism as topics taught in Romanian theological schools, as he describes in an autobiographical text: "My appointment as professor of systematic theology at the Seminary ot Buzau (1957-61) and then at the Faculty of Theology in Bucharest (1962-73) was a great opportunity to introduce classes to missiologv and ecumenism." Ibid., 74.

(7) Ion Bria, "Sinergia in teologia ortodoxa" [Synergy in C] rthodox Theology], Ortodoxia 8:1 (1956), 9-43.

(8) Ion Bria, "Simtirea tainica a prezentei harului dupa Sfantul Simeon Noul Teolog" [The intrinsic feeling of presence of grace according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian], Studii Teolegice 8:7-8 (1956), 47(1-86.

(9) Ion Bria, "Aspectul dogmatic al Sfintei Liturghii" [Dogmatic aspect of Holy Liturgy], Ortodoxia 11:7-8 (1959), 417-27.

(10) Ion Bria, "Harul Botezului in viata duhovniceasca crestina" [The grace of Baptism in Christian spiritual life], Glasul Bisericii 19:11-12 (1966), 931-44.

(11) Ion Bria, "Ecleziologia comuniunii" [Ecclesiology of communion], Studii Teologice, 20:9-10 (1968), 669-81.

(12) Developed in articles like Ion Bria, "Slujirea crestina in lumea contemporana" [Christian service in the contemporary world], Mitropolia Moldovei si Sucevei 45:3-4 (1969), 145-54; Ion Bria, "Sensul activ al crcdintei crestine" [The active sense of Christian faith], Ortodoxia 21:2 (1969), 216-40.

(13) Ion Bria, "Actuala configurable geografica si confesionala a confesiunii anglicane" [Today's confessional and geographic configuration of Anglican Church], Ortodoxia 15:1 (1963), 128-40.

(14) Sec for example his contribution to the Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement: Ion Bria, "Liturgy after the Liturgy," in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, 2nd ed., ed. Nicholas Lossky et al. (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2002), 705-706.

(15) See Ene Braniste, Lturgica generala: cu notiuni de arta bisericeasca, arhitectura si pictura crestina [General liturgies: with notions of Church art, architecture and Christian painting], 3rd ed., ed. Nicolae D. Nicula (Bucharest: Basilica Press, 2015), 18. This aspect was also picked up by some of his reviewers. For example: "The word 'liturgy' as used by the Orthodox church usually describes the worship service, that is, what goes on inside a church building--prayers, songs and chants, recital of the creed, proclamation of the Word, the Eucharist. The complete spiritual life and labour of the Orthodox Church culminates in the Liturgy. It is not surprising, then, that the perception exists that the Orthodox churches are predominantly "liturgical' churches, concentrating on ritual and hierarchy and neglecting theological research, especially that pertaining to the church's mission." J. C. van der Mervve, "Bria, Ion 1996--The Liturgy after the Liturgy, Mission and Witness from an Orthodox Perspective," HTS Teologiese Studies / HTS Theological Studies 53:4 (1997), 1452.

(16) Quoted in Pavel Aurel, "Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos' Contribution to the Development of Orthodox Missionary Theology," International journal of Orthodox Theology 6:1 (2015), 73; thus the WC(. mission document Together towards Life (2013), when speaking of the term "Liturgy after the Liturgy," states that "The term was originally coined by Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos and widely publicized by Ion Bria." See ooseop kcum, ed., Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes with a Practical Guide (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2013), 9.

(17) See the report of the consultation in International Review of Mission 64:256 (October 1975), 417-21.

(18) See the report of the consultation in "Report of an Inter-Orthodox Consultation 'The Ecumenical Nature of Orthodox Witness,'" New Valamo, Finland, 20-24 September 1977, in Orthodox Visions of Ecumenism, ed. Gennadios Limouris (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1994), 66-69; https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wce-programmes/ecumenical-moyement-in-the-21st-century/member-churches/special-eom-mission-on-participation-of-orthodox-churches/first-plenarv-meeting-documents-december 1999/new-valamo-meeting.

(19) Ion Bria, The Liturgy after the Liturgy: Mission and Witness from an Orthodox Perspective (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1996).

(20) Ion Bria, "The Liturgy after the Liturgy," International Review of Mission 67:265 (January 1978), 86-90.

(21) Ibid., 86.

(22) Ibid., 86-87; this comment was included as an appendix to the report of the Etchmiadzin consultation, without, however, being directly attributed to Anastasios: see International Review of Mission 64:256 (October 1975), 420-21.

(23) Ion Bria, "Concerns and Challenges in Orthodox Ecclesiology Today," Lutheran World 22:3 (1976), 188-91.

(24) Ion Bria, "Liturgy after the Liturgy," 87.

(25) Ibid., 88. See also Ion Bria, "Orthodoxy and Mission," International Review of Mission 39:352 (1) (2000), 49-59.

(26) N. A. Nissiotis, "The Ecclesiological Significance of Interchurch Diakonia," Ecumenical Review 13:2 (1961), 1; luliu-Marius Morariu, "Nikos Nissiotis: An Orthodox Approach of the Mission," Philotheos--International Journal for Philosophy and Theology 18:1 (2018), 135-44; Emilio Castro, "Vital Contributions of Nikos Nissiotis to the Ecumenical Movement," in Nikos A. Nissiotis, Religion, Philosophy and Sport in Dialogue: In Memoriam, ed. Mihail P. Grigoris (Athens: Thesaloniki University Press, 1994), 121.

(27) Ion Bria, "Liturgy after the Liturgy," 89.

(28) Ibid., 88-89.

(29) Ana Langerak, "A Personal Tribute to the International Review of Mission'' International Reriew of Mission 100:2 (2011), 192.

(30) Ion Bria, "Hommage au Perc Dumitru Staniloae pour son soixante-quinzieme anniversaire," Contacts 27:105 (1) (1979), 64-74.

(31) "Dumitru Staniloae not only genuinely renewed the traditional way of thinking based on the authority of the Church Fathers, but raised several points fundamentally significant for theological discourse of today. His approach differs from those who present Orthodoxy in the form of a theological introduction or synthesis for the purpose of communication with the western churches (Sergius Boulgakov, Vladimir Lossky, Nicholas Zernov, John Meycndorff, Olivier Clement, Timothy Ware), in that he explores inductively all the basic issues of Orthodox doctrine in a personal and invigorating spirit." Ibid., 74.

(32) See Dumitru Staniloae, "Witness through 'Holiness' of Life," in Martyria/Mission: The Witness of the Orthodox Churches Today, ed. Ion Bria (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1980), 45-51.

(33) Ion Bria, "1 lommage au Pere Dumitru Staniloae," 69.

(34) Also underlined by theologians such as Missions who, starting from his ideas, developed an interesting approach of this problematic. See Panagiotis Nellas, Omul--animal indumnezeit: perspective pentru o antropologie ortodoxa [Man--deified animal: perspectives for a theological anthropology] (Sibiu: Dcisis Press, 2009).

(35) "Spirituality has an important ethical dimension. Staniloae opposes the excessive privatization of piety which he sees reflected in Christian existentialism in the West. He insists on the ethical implication of Christian piety and on the quality of personal relationships as a mode of existence. Theosis means for him the transfiguration of our style of life, and implies concern for one another, mutual sharing, dialogue and openness. Responsibility, the sense of belonging, is at the heart of Orthodox ethics. The continuing invocation of the name of Jesus, the so-called 'prayer of Jesus', is incompatible with closing the door on neighbours. Theology and spirituality cannot be separated from a clear and sharp witness to Christ in society and in the world." Ion Bria, "The Creative Vision of D. Staniloae: An Introduction to His Theological Thought," Ecumenical Reriew 33:1 (1981), 56.

(36) Ion Bria, "The F.astern Orthodox in the Ecumenical Movement," Ecumenical Review 38:2 (1986), 216-27.

(37) "On the other hand, the presence of the Orthodox Church in the World Council of Churches has not only prevented the Council from simply becoming a Pan-Protestant federation, but has had an impact on its life and theological development. Orthodoxy has demonstrated a wider dimension of theological problematics beyond the Western Churches' polarization between pre- and post-Reformation. Moreover, it has created a new ecumenical situation within which the WCC is called to act responsibly." Ion Bria, "Ecclesial Unity in the fxumenical Movement: Theology and Expectations," The Creek, Orthodox Theological Review 26:4 (1981), 315.

(38) "The ecumenical problem for Orthodoxy is not the unity of the Church, which is given and preserved essentially by God in the historical Orthodox communion. The ecumenical problem tor us is the problem of the disunity of Christendom and the necessity of the recovery of the biblical-patristic synthesis of faith which is constituted of the one Church. For Orthodoxy, theology and worship do not express the thought and life of one particular denomination, but of the Church of Christ." Ibid., 318.

(39) Ion Bria, "The Eastern Orthodox in the Fxumenical Movement," 226-27.

(40) Ion Bria, "L'espoir du Grand Synode orthodoxc," Revue theologique de Louvain 8:1 (1977), 51-54.

(41) For a history of this event and of the pre-conciliar meetings and their relevance, see also Yiorel lonita, Hotdririle intrunirilor panortodoxe din 1923 pana in 2009--spre Sfantul si Marele Sinod al Bisericii Ortodoxc [The decisions of the pan-Orthodox meetings from 1923 to 2009--towards the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church] (Bucharest: Basilica Press, 2013); Patrick Yiscuso, Quest for Reform of the Orthodox Church: The 1923 Pan-Orthodox Congress. An Analysis and Translation of Its Acts and Decisions (Berkeley Inter Orthodox Press, 2006); Iuliu-Marius Morariu, "Eastern Orthodox Churches and Ecumenism according to the Holy Pan-Orthodox Council of Crete (2016)," HTS "Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies 74:4 (2018), 1-5; Viorel lonita, Sfantul si Morele Sinod al Bisericii Ortodoxc--documcnte pregatitoare [Holy and Great Council of the Orthodoc Church--preliminary documents] (Bucharest: Basilica, 2016).

(42) See, for example: Ion Bria, Philippe Chanson, Jacques Gadille, Marc Spindler, eds, Dictionnaire acumenique de missiologie. Cent mots pour mission (Paris: Cerf, 2001); Ion Bria, Dictionar de Teologie Ortodoxa--A-Z [Dictionary of Orthodox Theology - A-Z] (Bucharest: Press of the Biblical and Missionary Institute of Romanian Orthodox Church, 1981).

(43) Ion Bria, "My Pilgrimage in Mission," 76.

(44) "At the Vespers on Easter Day the Orthodox read the gospel in the original and as many other languages as possible. This is not only to remind us of the universality of the gospel and to reveal that the kingdom of God is a kingdom of peace and reconciliation. It is also to send the faithful as witnesses of the resurrection into the world proclaiming, 'In him was life, and the life was the light of people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it' (John 1:4-5). This is the apostolic journey of the church, which follows in the footsteps of the apostles who met personally the risen Christ (John 26:16-17), like St Thomas who touched him saying, 'My Lord and my God' (John 20:28). It is to follow the disciples who met the risen Christ in celebrating the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35). It is also to follow in the steps of the women: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome, who went to the tomb to look for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified (Mark 16:1-7), and who arc sent back by the angel of the Lord to tell Jesus' disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead' (Matt. 28:1-10)." Ion Bria, "Dynamics of Resurrection in the Church's Tradition and Mission," International Renew of Mission 98:2 (365) (2003), 261.

(45) Ibid., 261-62. One of the most important Orthodox voices to speak about the role of the women in the Orthodox space is Eliasbeth Behr-Sigel. She also uses some of his ideas in developing her own theology. See Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, The Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church (Geneva: WCC Publications, 20(10).

(46) Ion Bria, "Evangelism, Proselytism, and Religious Freedom in Romania: An Orthodox Point of View," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 36:1-2 (1999), 170-71. See Antonie Plamadeala, Uniatismul: metoda de uuire din trecut si cautarea actuals a deplinei comuniuni: documental de la Balamaitd: text si comentariu [Uniatism: method of union from the past and actual seeking for the fulfilled communion: Balamand document--text and commentary] (Sibiu: Press of the Orthodox Archdiocese, 1993), for a detailed presentation of this topic and its pan-Christian understanding.

(47) See Diane C. Kessler, ed., Together on the Way: Official Report of the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1999), 160-61.

(48) The text was published two years later in The Ecumenical Review. See Ion Bria, "Widening the Ecclesiological Basis of the Ecumenical Fellowship," Ecumenical Review 56:2 (2004), 199-210.

DOI: l0.1111/ercv. 12413

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Author:Morariu, Iuliu-Marius
Publication:The Ecumenical Review
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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