Pro Oriente


18. April 2024
Thema: 60th Anniversary of PRO ORIENTE

Eminences, Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I am delighted to be able to celebrate the Sixtieth anniversary of the PRO ORIENTE Foundation with you today. We look back with gratitude on many decades of blessed work in the service of reconciliation and rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the Churches of the East.

It fills me with profound gratitude that the Orthodox Church has been involved from the very beginning, both on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, under the Ecumenical Patriarchs Athenagoras, Dimitrios and Bartholomaios, but also with my predecessors here in Vienna, Metropolitans Chrysostomos (Tsiter) and Michael (Staikos).

Cardinal Franz König and PRO ORIENTE, which he founded, can surely be regarded as one of the major important factors in the Ecumenical Movement of the last decades, especially since the Second Vatican Council. Without many of the initiatives, consultations and academic symposia initiated and fostered by PRO ORIENTE, we would certainly be in a different place today. However, I would particularly like to emphasize that ecumenism in the vision of the PRO ORIENTE is not an abstract idea, it is not “desk ecumenism”, but always very concrete, it is first and foremost a benevolent and friendly encounter, of personal contact. It is an ecumenism that has a concrete partner in dialogue – and tries to recognize Christ in this partner, in an authentic, honest, but above all cordial struggle for the truth.

I pray and hope that the PRO ORIENTE Foundation will continue to carry on with its significant and substantial ministry in the spirit of the prayer of Jesus Christ for unity. May many more years follow and may many new generations and young people be inspired by this spirit.

Εἰς πολλά ἔτη!

+ Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria