Pro Oriente

Greetings of Christoph Cardinal Schönborn

15. March 2024
Thema: 60th Anniversary of PRO ORIENTE

Schoenborn Greetings

My memories go back 50 years when I first came into contact with the than 10-years-young foundation. As a young theologian I participated (as listener) at the famous Symposium on Ecclesiology in 1974. In the early 80s Cardinal König called me to join the directory of Pro Oriente. For nearly 30 years I have the honor to be Protector of the Foundation.

Things have developed a lot since its beginnings 60 years ago. When Cardinal König founded Pro Oriente, the world was divided in two blocs; the Cardinal saw the mission of Pro Oriente to build bridges through personal contacts, friendships, encounters and dialog. Again, the divisions in the world are growing, the tensions are increasing, the perspectives seem rather dark. Pro Oriente has always been in search of new ways of hope and, despite all, of friendship.

Among the many initiatives I just want to point out two:

  1. The meetings of young theologians, catholic and orthodox, to study, to discuss, to share their studies and to build friendships. My deep conviction and long experience are that ecumenism lives from true friendship in Christ. It is His gift of friendship that brings us closer to each other.
  2. The second initiative will be presented today, in the program: The meetings of young eastern Christians in their precarious situation in the Middle East and in the diaspora.

Both initiatives are future-oriented. They are oriented to a common witness of Christian faith. What a beautiful goal for the next decades of Pro Oriente!

Thank you for being with this good initiative. God bless You all!

+ Christoph Cardinal Schönborn