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God of life, lead us to justice and peace! In ecumenical process for transformation.

We are living in a time when the whole of humanity is struggling for justice and peace, but also in a time of confusion, the calm before the storm. The guarantee that Hiroshima will not be followed, as Americans writers used to say, by either a "Euroshima" or a "Worldshima" is weak indeed. In the 1960s the world was confronted with revolutions, in the 1970s with ecological problems, and now with the great passion for justice and peace. Whoever puts a finger on the world's pulse knows that peace and justice are threatened by a third world war that can mean the destruction and end of the present world. (1)

Thus, it is becoming increasingly clear that the world is confronted with significant questions and problems, whose ethical basis for a solution must be found within ecclesial experience. The dilemma facing us is how we, as Christians and as Orthodox, are to confront the burning issues of justice and peace.

From the very beginning, the church was sent to proclaim and create justice and peace. The more peace is threatened, the more the church needs to be concerned about peace. (2)

Peace, justice, freedom, brotherhood and sisterhood, love between peoples, and the suppression of racial discrimination--these are bound together. We as Orthodox are called today to reflect once more on how justice and peace are interrelated in the world situation in order to realize God's kingdom and God's plans for our salvation.

From Roman times to the present day, people have paid homage to the principle si vis pacem, para bellum (if you want peace, prepare for war). Today we need a new principle, si vis pacem, para pacem (if you want peace, prepare for peace), because we cannot serve God and the military. Orthodox Christians, non-Orthodox Christians, and indeed the whole of humanity cannot remain indifferent to the tragedies that are taking place on this living planet. One thinks first of the tremendous amount of human suffering involved in the current events in the Middle East, and then of the inertia that makes states and nations unable to take radical and immediate decisions to put an end to the daily suffering of innocent human beings.

At the time of this writing, I experience a sense of frustration because the situation in Lebanon is unbearable and the rest of humanity just looks on as a mere spectator. But that is not the only situation in our world. As we turn our eyes to other parts of the planet, we see sisters and brothers struggling against apartheid; others poor and oppressed; wars of religion; and persecution of people who have provided Christian values of truth for this life, witnessing to their faith and fighting for the renewal and transformation of this world. And in the midst of these new martyrs of faith, there is Christ, who is the only way of truth and whose church, the ecclesial community of all the people of God, embraces the whole of humanity and proclaims the "gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15) and justice, because through Christ himself "all things, whether on earth or in heaven, make peace by the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:20). "He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near" (Eph. 2:17). He became "our peace" (Eph. 2:14). This peace "which passes all understanding" (Phil. 4:7) was promised by Christ himself to his disciples during the Holy Supper, a promise given also to the world: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27).

Peace and war are both born in the heart of humanity. For the heart, in the biblical sense of the term, is the depth, the very core of the human person, where bonds with other people are formed. The deep meaning of life, the value inspiring action, and the ultimate source of these values is God. Unbridled passions, dissoluteness, grudges--these movements of the heart give rise to sin. It is sin which, behind all objective reality and all the social inequity brought about by a given political system, lies at the root of war and its train of woes: hatred between people and peoples, exaggerated claims of real or imaginary rights, economic wretchedness, loss of human lives and happiness.

In contrast to this grisly sequence of sin, peace is born in the heart of regenerated humanity: for regenerated humanity has become a child of God, reconciled with its Father and Creator. This peace, as Jesus reminds us, is diametrically opposed to the fleeting moment of peace the world can provide, which is based on fear, terror, and injustice. Jesus' peace is the fruit of a deep reconciliation among human beings and between nations when, setting aside human wisdom, passions, ambitions, and selfishness, they come together to pool their experience at the foot of the cross and to agree on essentials concerning the common good and peace in the world.

For the Christian, peace, justice, and a peaceful life are situations in which difficult problems are not solved by force of arms; in them there is no room for tension and mistrust between peoples and states. Peace is not only a gift of God from outside, but also the result of human effort by whole nations. Peace was, and remains for some, that which has not yet been achieved, and for which many-sided, untiring work and the unity of all peace-loving forces are imperative. Peace is not static; therefore a dynamic process is needed in order to achieve a just peace. This inevitably leads to difficulties, because the process embraces both people of good will and the resistance of the opponent.

This process includes mutual understanding and contradiction. The issues at stake are the human mind and its renewal or transformation, changes in society, coexistence between states with different socio-political and economic systems, and the reshaping of the world. Jesus Christ, as liberator, does not stand aside in this process. He is there and supports with his strength those fighting for the just cause and those giving their lives for their sisters and brothers, resisting the arrogant who humble their neighbours or do not help the thirsty, the hungry, the sick, the exhausted, or those who have been robbed of their freedom, work, and life.

The church fathers quite often distinguish among three aspects of human peace: peace with God, peace with one's conscience, and peace with one's neighbour. None of these aspects alone can be effective and significant, yet every effort for peace is effective no matter where it comes from.

For an Orthodox Christian, peace is the most important aspect of the church's experience of its spiritual and sacramental life and of its service and diakonia to humanity, through prayer and all other possible means.

The desire for peace and the duty to serve the world are described in particular in the liturgy, where there is a hidden memory of Christ's aims of reconciliation. The whole content of the liturgical prayers is directed to helping people to be reconciled with God, to be in communion with him, the church, and people, so that an unbreakable peace arises between heaven and earth: "In peace let us pray to the Lord ... for the peace of God and for the whole world ... let us pray to the Lord." Through these words believers recognize, as nowhere else, the needs of humanity; they recognize their own responsibility for the world, and they prepare themselves for service to the highest ideals. It is the liturgy, God's word in prayer, that teaches the people of God not only to maintain the eternal, but also to serve humanity, to serve those near and those far, to serve so that with the help and grace of God, "the good are rewarded by goodness and the deceitful also by goodness." (3)

The struggle for peace brings people closer to each other and helps them to understand each other better, to perceive the problems of peace and humanity more deeply, and to proclaim the good news with a new sense of responsibility. In their struggle for peace, the Christian faithful experience a spiritual renewal of their being, of their purpose in life, of their understanding of other Christians and people of other confessions, denominations, and religions, and even of people who know neither faith nor the gospel. The struggle for justice and peace has no boundaries, frontiers, or confessional limits, but as Christians, our concepts and definitions of justice and peace are deeply rooted in Christ's message and God's love for humanity.

In the depths of their hearts, all people long for justice and peace. But history has shown us that humanity cannot create and maintain peace. The Israelites knew that peace was God's gift. The Greeks and Romans defined peace as tranquillitas ordinis ("the peace of all things" or "well-ordered concord") and believed that peace could be established with the help of weapons and gods. Israel, on the other hand, was to trust less in war and more in peace as God's gift (Is. 48:22; 54:10; 57:20). In the prophetic corpus of the Bible, peace is central--a watchword for the time of messianic salvation (Is. 57:19; 66:12; Jer. 33:6; Ezek. 34:25; 37:26).

In Jesus of Nazareth this promise of peace was fulfilled (Luke 7:50; 8:48). Jesus greets the sick with words of peace and praises peacemakers (Luke 7:50; 8:48; Matt. 5:9). After the resurrection, he greets the disciples with words of peace and sends them on the great mission of peace (John 20:19,26). Peace is a central reality, not only in the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments, but also in the life of humanity. Peace is an essential word as well in the life and prayer of the church. Peace is also a key word in the international political dialogue between the great powers of East and West. For the first time in history, we are in a situation where we are capable of exterminating the whole of human civilization.

It is, therefore, no wonder that people in all countries talk about and long for peace and justice. Peace, in the biblical sense of the word, is more than an absence of violence and war. Between today's world powers with their nuclear weapons there is a peace of deterrence, built on a balance of capability of destruction. This technocratic world peace is built on fear and mistrust. But that is not the biblical vision of peace.

The meaning and understanding of peace--shalom (in Hebrew) or eirene (in Greek)--is something more than the absence of war and threat. Peace in the holy scriptures, especially in the Old Testament, is an extremely broad concept: salvation, wholeness, justice, happiness, blessing, joy, health, security and freedom--all in one word. God's peace is a new creation and a new life, and not merely the absence of war. There is no peace without justice. Jesus did not propagate the political peace of Pax Romana but God's peace, which means fellowship with sinners, the poor, the socially outcast. Between God's peace and "political peace," the cross stands as a criterion. Peace is a gift from God; it is grace and forgiveness. Yet peace in our world today is rooted in power and politics and is supported by an ideology that believes "the enemy" is wrong and one's own country is right.

In order to begin a war, political leaders have to sketch a picture of the enemy as a terrible beast. Jesus says: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). Biblical peace is also built on the confession of guilt and on God's gift of forgiveness. The apostle Paul always talks about "grace and peace" (Phil. 1:2); God's peace is created by grace.

Political peace, therefore, is obviously not the same as God's peace. But the two areas are not unrelated. If nations live together in peace and collaboration, they are much closer to the ideal of the kingdom of God than nations living in enmity and in fear of each other. Peace between nation states, however, is not the highest goal for Christians.

The Orthodox Church has been a church of immense suffering. Without doubt it has seen more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than in all other centuries combined. It is not surprising that Orthodox Christians have longed for better days and come to regard with admiration and gratitude those who have taken up deadly weapons to speed the day of liberation.

What is even more remarkable, however, is the fact that in Russia, following seven decades of Soviet rule, which cost millions of believers their lives, violence was not used to end atheist rule and no wave of retribution was directed at those who caused so many to suffer.

Christians must understand peace based on reconciliation to Jesus Christ. Christians should be prepared to witness to God's peace in Jesus Christ in both word and deed, which means loving people, including "the enemy," for the sake of the "peace of the gospel."

First of all, we have to acknowledge the issue of social, political, and economic justice. Human beings want justice and have every right to demand it, to the greatest possible extent that it can be attained on this earth. Christians must bear witness to this fact and must serve the cause of justice in human life in all its forms.

There is a great deal of injustice in the world that we have to face daily and experience in one way or another: oppression, exploitation, inequality, tyranny, and more. Some people have possessions and power; others are deprived of freedom, at least in certain external and social ways; yet others have to accept their lot in life without power to control it or to choose or change their ways of riving and working.

Christian teaching is that injustice in all its forms is rooted in wickedness and sin. It is not the result of some accident of history or biology. Where there is injustice, there is also necessarily guilt. Where there is injustice, someone, somewhere, is somehow responsible. Injustice does not simply happen. It is caused by the evil of human beings. The Christ of the church, who is himself the fulfillment of the law, and the prophets with their unyielding demands for justice among human beings, promised to establish justice in his kingdom at the end of the ages. This is an essential part of Christ's service as the Messiah of God. He himself predicts that until he comes again in glory, there will not be perfect justice on earth. But he himself demands that people--certainly his people--should hunger and thirst for justice and do all in their power to see that it triumphs in human life, here and now. And he judges the acts of human beings according to this rule --all human beings, both those who explicitly know him and those who do not: "For he will render to every man according to his works; to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for whose who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality" (Rom. 2:6-10).

In the struggle for justice, the Lord sides with the victimized and the oppressed. He condemns the tyrannous; he throws down the mighty. He exalts the lowly; he judges the rich who set their hearts on their wealth and multiply their possessions at the expense of the exploited. The fact that the poor will always be with us, as Jesus said, does not give human beings permission to be callous and indifferent to the needs of their fellow creatures. The fact that perfect justice will be established only in the kingdom to come does not exempt human beings from establishing justice now, to the extent possible. On the contrary, it compels them to do so.

Again, scripture offers us reminders: "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth" (1 Jn. 3:17-18). And in the epistle of James we read: "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily goods, and one of you says: 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2:14-17).

Later in the epistle of James, we are confronted with the invitation that is addressed to all of us: "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you" (James 5:1-6).

These words of the apostles of Christ are no less violent and uncompromising than the works of his Old Testament prophets. The Lord sides with the oppressed and favours the poor. Though the owner of everything, he himself became poor, so that by his poverty we all might become rich and inherit everything in the kingdom of God (see 2 Cor. 8:9).

In this world, the Lord rewards justice and peace in ways known to himself, according to his inscrutable and unfathomable providence, which is always beneficent while favouring and blessing the poor and the oppressed. However, the Lord does not necessarily join their political party or accept their economic ideology or endorse their philosophical world view. And Christ certainly judges their sins, as he does those of the rich, being himself the perfect practitioner of justice. "The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all" (Prov. 22:2). God in Christ is with the oppressed and victimized in their sorrow and affliction, but he is not necessarily with them in their struggles and actions.

Christ is to be considered neither a socialist nor a capitalist, neither monarchist nor democrat, neither a communist nor a fascist. He accepts no vision of human life other than his own. He is the only way by which to communicate with God, the Creator and Father. In the way of truth and justice, Christ is king and subject, master and slave, ruler and servant, "the offerer and the offered, the one who receives and is distributed." (4) He is known and worshiped this way in the ecclesial life of his church. He cannot be co-opted into any earthly program and action that denies any aspect of his "theandric" being and life as the Lord of the universe and its crucified victim. In serving the cause of justice and peace in the world, Christians must themselves be just in every way, whatever their social and economic status, political persuasion, or ideological position may be in any given instance or situation.

This, of course, does not mean that Christians are to remain aloof, indifferent or uncommitted to political and social movements and actions. It does mean, however, that they are to remain inwardly free and detached, preserved from the "insanity" of selling their souls to an earthly cause; they must not depersonalize themselves into mindless members of a collective crusade in which they are compelled to sell their divine birthright of spiritual freedom for a mess of secular, material pottage.

As Orthodox Christians, we stand under judgment with all people on the issue of human justice in this world. In essence we bear even more guilt than others for our sins in this regard, because we claim to be God's people and children of God's kingdom. For, as Jesus has said, "everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Luke 12:48) and as we dare to pray in our Liturgy, "grant us your peace and your love, O Lord, our God, for you have given all things unto us." (5)

If we have indeed been given not simply much but all things from the Lord, then we, of all people, must be lovers and servants of justice on the earth. For this reason, therefore, we must resist accepting secular ideologies in place of the gospel of Christ and covering these human ideologies with the name of God.

Perfect justice lies only in Christ and in the church. The most just society on this earth --whatever its form at the moment--is always determined by time and place and by the pragmatic considerations that the given situation demands; but it must be inspired and patterned after the kingdom of God.

Cries for Freedom

In relation to the issue of justice, people today cry out for freedom. They want to be free in many different ways. In addition to the movements for political, economic, social, and religious freedom, there are also many other kinds of liberation movements, particularly in the Western world and also in the third world.

True freedom, in the Christian perspective, consists neither in passive resignation to one's earthly fate nor in active rebellion against the conditions and structures of life in which one finds oneself in the world. It consists rather in the joyful acceptance of one's earthly conditions provided by a gracious, wise, and loving God, who has given each individual a life fulfilling an earthly vocation in the service of God and humanity. Fundamental to the Christian view of liberation is belief in divine providence and recognition that each person has a unique vocation from God, being called upon to sanctify, transfigure, and redeem the specific conditions of his or her life in ways provided and revealed by God.

Humans are truly free when they love their life in the world, their time, their place, their calling, and their task; when they believe that their life is the best for them in which to fulfill their vocation; when they struggle to work out their salvation in obedience to God and serve their fellow human beings within the situation in which God has put them; and when they trust that God's will be done in their life--the will of God whose ways and thoughts are not ours--if only they are obedient to God's commandments in the smallest and seemingly most insignificant detail of their daily activity. Such persons are truly free because, paradoxically, they accept their human situation and condition and, at the same time, are not determined or bound by it. Jesus himself is the most perfect example of such behaviour. He embraced the conditions of his earthly life and was subject to "every human institution" (to use the apostle's expression) for God's sake: to his family, society, nation, religion, and political situation.

It is to this freedom of Christ that all human beings are called. It is the freedom of the "glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21), guaranteed and realized in human beings by the indwelling of the Spirit of God. It is the freedom not to miss the mark of one's human vocation by making life in this world an end in itself, by defining one's entire being and life according to the life in this world, or by yielding to the wickedness and evil that a self-centred this-worldly life necessarily demands. And the Epistle to Galatians clearly states this call to freedom (Gal. 5:13-14).

Therefore, in Christ and the church we find the image and meaning of true freedom, which is liberation from the "law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). Only in Christ and the church do we find the pattern for the right relationship of human beings to each other, to themselves, to their bodies, to their sexuality, to their psychic and emotional experiences, to their earthly institutions and histories, to their death--and to God himself. This "right relationship" is true liberty. When a person finds it and lives it, he or she is free indeed. Without it there is only enslavement to "empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe" (Col. 2:8), and bondage to the graceless powers of "this age," whose "form is passing away" (1 Cor. 7:31).

Therefore, true freedom is in Christ and the church as God's kingdom on earth. Our witness and service in the world are to have people see this and know this, and so to be freed from the futility of their delusions and rebellions, as well as from the frustrations, dissatisfactions, and disappointments that inevitably result when their earthly needs and desires, even when satisfied, still prove insufficient and unfulfilling.

God's commandment to love one's neighbour, even one's enemy, means that Christians are always called to love justice and maintain peace with all people, insofar as this depends on them. It is therefore inconsistent with a life in Christ for them actively to support or tacitly to tolerate a known injustice. There are, however, different points of view currently held by Christians who advocate justice and wish to promote peace in situations of injustice, oppression, and conflict.

God has covenanted with his people in order to be glorified and worshiped by them through their riving in a world of justice and freedom. The glory of God can only be reflected because of the unfaithfulness of God's people and because of the faithfulness of God.

Covenanting is a process because God's people continuously break the covenant, and covenanting is only possible because God constantly renews his mercy, forgiving his people: "If we believe not, yet abide the faithful: he cannot deny himself" (2 Tim. 2:13).

Looking for Justice and Peace with a New Hope

In Christianity, there is a strong tradition of looking at spiritual life in terms of warfare. The cross of Jesus Christ, for Saint Paul, is the locus of God's decisive victory in the struggle against evil forces (Col. 2:15) and the resurrection of Christ is the "first fruit" of that victory in the world. The warfare continues until all powers are brought under the feet of Christ and God shall be all and in all (1 Cor. 15:20-28). Meanwhile, Christians have to put on the whole armour of God to fight against evil forces and the spiritual hosts of darkness still operating in the world (Eph. 6:17).

Today the passion of the mystical Christ, embodied in the lives of those Christians who have sacrificed themselves for the cause of justice, preserves the same structure as the passion of the historical Jesus. Like Jesus, many people today are persecuted, killed, or imprisoned because they defend the rights of the lowly and the just claims of the poor. They suffer this fate out of fidelity to God, who asks them to sacrifice their lives for those causes. Those causes are greater than life itself because they are the causes of God and God's kingdom.

These people prefer to glory of a violent death to the joy of an accursed freedom, as a Christian martyr of the 3rd century put it. The resurrection of the crucified Jesus proves that the sacrifice of one's life, out of love for the downtrodden and abused, is not meaningless.

This means sharing in the fullness of life and the definitive triumph of justice. The crucified one is the living one. Those who are crucified will also live. The agonizing question that Christians around the world and particularly the Orthodox have to face--and that many of them are courageously facing, though others seek to ignore it--is this: What is more important, the ultimate triumph of conformism to one's society--in its totality and integrity--or the creation of a new communion (koinonia) in which bitter memories are reconciled and new ways of relating to the other members of the body of Christ are realized?

Christians have inherited a tradition of martyrdom, of being willing to suffer and die for their faith and their homeland. They find it more difficult to live for them. They do of course recognize that love (agape) is more important than anything else. But love is too often something that must be expressed in one's own way. At the time of the Roman persecutions and later of the Inquisition, love for the soul of a heretic was expressed by burning his body; similarly, today, love may sometimes be expressed by explicit or implicit proselytism. It is much more difficult to establish new patterns of communion, to move forward together in the spirit of fellowship and Christian love.

Most Christians share Saint Paul's belief that although the verbalization of our "orthodoxy" may be vague, if we have not love, we are "noisy gongs or clanging cymbals" (1 Cor. 13). Yet there can come a point where, if Christians feel their existence is threatened, and therefore also feel that their power of witnessing to the truth as they see it is threatened, they will view themselves as martyrs; they will then see their first duty as protest and bearing verbal witness rather than as love for those who threaten them. The only way they can be released from their situation is for those who threaten them to convince them that they are not threatened--that they are free to witness and act as they please.

We live in a world which, once again, has made a covenant with death. But we live here as witnesses to a God who has made a covenant with life. The new covenant in the life blood of Jesus is God's ratification and renewal of God's ancient creational Amen to life; it is the final seal on the divine determination to mend the creation.

Christians who have discerned the signs of our times know that their gospel, therefore, stands in direct confrontation with the dominating spirit of our age, that spirit emanating from the bargain with death. The mask of life, which death-serving empires have sometimes worn with deceptive grace, has in our time been pulled off.

The unity of humanity, shattered by human pride, by the lust to possess the creation, and therefore by death--the state of death that results from separation--is restored by Christ. Christ is separated from nothing and no one. Through the eucharist we enter into this immense unity: we are all members of one another, responsible for each other; each of us bears the whole of humanity with us. The eucharistic bread does more than establish a bond between the risen Christ and each one of us, more than bring the visible unity of the church into being. It also introduces us to the real unity of humanity.

Shared, the eucharistic bread makes us sharers. People in this 21st century have witnessed a strong wave of liberation movements; this has created a number of independent states and many of them have thrown off the centuries-old yoke of foreign domination. This process continues today. However, we still feel that human evil will try to hinder this inevitable historical process.

Sometimes industrial states try to impose on developing countries their form of internal development, thus ensuring the perpetuation of underdevelopment. Today, human beings still suffer from racial discrimination, apartheid, and other forms of human humiliation and indignity.

Daily we live in contact with other people in this world, and this is often considered dangerous; and dangerous it certainly is, if our own knowledge and vision of Orthodoxy in the world is weak.

But this is also a unique opportunity, without precedent, to know and understand the Western Christian world (if there still is one) and the rest of the world. We are seeing today a new openness toward the world that must be realized on the basis of values and truths of human life and in common actions and decisions. Such an "openness" lacks the conviction that knowledge of the real truth--which is given in Christianity and has become accessible only to the community of the church in Christ--is only realized through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. This road toward the new hopes of transformation of human life is difficult, but it is the only right one, through the Christian message, not simply because it is the "middle road" but mainly because it reflects the truly catholic spirit of the Christian faith.

Salvation has two dimensions for the Christian, the transcendent and the immanent. Without peace with God, there can be no true peace with humanity. Converting hearts remains a precondition for a better world. There is no new humanity until there are new persons.

Thus, speaking of the inner-worldly, the vertical dimension of Christianity should be described as faith and prayer, church and sacraments, death and eternal life--as we have always done. At the same time, however, we cannot forget the horizontal dimension of Christian faith. We should not be inhibited in encouraging youth in their struggles for new values and transformation of life and in their concerns for justice, peace, disarmament, and ecology. Peace as transformation means, finally, that we proclaim solidarity with the rest of the world and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

The major task of Christians today should not be empty, with general talk about justice and peace, but should take place primarily with efforts in favour of human rights and of the restoration of conditions that would make mutual confidence possible and war unthinkable. Peace and justice are inseparable from this openness and confidence. This is not an empty moralism, but the only realistic approach to all the concerns and problems of justice, peace, and disarmament. There will always be the danger of war as long as justice and peace are forgotten and human freedom is curtailed.

The church that truly lives in communion and renews itself will no longer see its prime function only in terms of institutional closeness, but rather in the service and diakonia of Christ's message for the world.

We do well to make peaceful ("eirenomatize") the world in which all are living all together with Jesus, who is a witness of that God and Father who is "the God of peace" (1 Thess. 5:23).

DOI: 10.1111/erev.12037

(1) See Gennadios Limouris, Greek Orthodox Theological Review 35:1 (1990), 33-46.

(2) The Third Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference at Chambesy/Geneva, Switzerland (28 October-6 November 1986) reflected on and set out very clearly how the Orthodox Church can achieve justice and peace. See also the Inter-Orthodox consultation on "Orthodox Perspectives on Justice and Peace" held in Minsk, USSR (now Belarus) 4-12 May 1989, proceedings edited by Gennadios Limouris.

(3) Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.

(4) See the Divine Liturgy of Saint Chrysostom.

(5) See the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil.

Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima

Metropolitan Gennadios of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a professor of Orthodox theology and canon law, has been a member of the WCC Executive and Central Committees since 2002. He has been a leader in dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, and Roman Catholics.
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Publication:The Ecumenical Review
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Date:Jul 1, 2013
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