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ANP: World Council executive criticizes self-satisfaction of churches

A release of Dutch News Agency “ANP” on 26 August 2002 about a speech of Aram I, the Armenian catholicos of Cicilia (Residing in Antelias – Lebanon) at the opening of a meeting of World Council of Churches in Geniva. Below the original text in Dutch followed by an English translation by Nairi Hakhverdian.

ANP (Dutch news agency)

August 26 2002

GENEVA (ANP) – There is no future for globalization in this era for churches that reject other churches. The moderator of the World Council of Churches, the Armenian-Orthodox church leader Aram I, said on Monday at the opening of the nine-day committee meeting in Geneva.

“While globalization is creating a world without borders, many churches are engaged in building fences as a way of self-affirmation,” Aram I said. According to him, under pressure of globalization, churches must distance themselves from all self-satisfaction and nationalism in their doctrine.

“Despite the important growth of ecumenical cooperation, every church seems convinced that it alone fully embodies one church and does not need another church”, Aram I said. This remark was mainly directed to orthodox churches, that see themselves as the continuation of the church of Jesus Christ and do not view the other members of the World Council as worthy churches.

Aram I wondered why the churches are not yet prepared to accept the apostolic profession as their collective foundation even after years of research. He also criticized the reluctance of the churches to put into practice a partial agreement about baptism, supper/eucharist and office which they had established in 1982 in the so-called Lima-report.

According to Aram I, the churches should regard globalization with “critical realism”. Globalization brings people world-wide together and breaks down borders, however at the same time it alienates people from their local communities, makes cultures uniform and leads to more inequality on a world-scale.

“God’s globalization”, the vision of the Kingdom of God, looks different according to Aram I. “The purpose of the world according to God’s plan lies in multiplicity, not in uniformity, in wholeness, not in disintegration.” If churches allow themselves to be led by the realization that they all belong to the “one body of Christ” they will abandon their self-satisfaction and the urge to reject other churches, the moderator said.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of 342 churches
from over one hundred countries.

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