Workshops led by the Orthodox at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, held between 17-25 May in Kingston, Jamaica, led to deep reflection and robust, honest conversations about ecumenical relations.
Each of the workshops touched upon issues of just peace, as they dealt with the four themes of the convocation: peace in the community, peace with the earth, peace in the marketplace and peace among peoples.
The subject matter of the events ranged from Orthodox perspectives on peace building, peacemaking, and the transforming power of the gospel in the context of peace, as well as ecological theology and reconciliation.
Vibrant discussions took place in what organisers described as an atmosphere of mutual respect and honesty. Orthodox participants from various contexts where they constitute a minority contributed to the dialogue on peace, enriching and contesting it from their particularly different social and religious realities.
Among the most important issues related to just peace, the issue of nationalism evoked an intense discussion and active engagement on the part of the participants.
Inclusive ecclesiology, loving the 'other' as oneself, is the only way to understand our belonging to the body of Christ, many said.
The fresh self-understanding and critical approach to the issues of the secular world have been noted as a necessary precondition for missionary work and witness in today’s pluralistic and multicultural world.
Conciliar discussion arose around the fact that the church’s witness could be jeopardised if the church does not seriously engage with the issues of modernity in the light of a theology of just peace. The theology of peace has been constitutive to the Orthodox self-understanding yet a challenge to their witness in the contemporary world.
Honest cooperation in inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogue leads Orthodox Church into an inclusive understanding of ecclesiology. Orthodox theology has a vast potential to contribute towards development of a theology of just peace for which social or sociological approach is not a complete condition.
The Orthodox perspective is directed towards theological engagement through the living experience in Christ, “the prince of peace”. The eschatological vision empowers the Orthodox to look forward but also to foretaste the peace and harmony of the transformation of life in Christ.
Meaningful and remarkable participation of Christians from other traditions enriched Orthodox workshops with their own experiences. Interventions helped the Orthodox participants to engage in broader dialogue, and revealed Orthodox vitality and comprehension of just peace in the modern world.
The IEPC opened on Wednesday 18 May and concluded on 25 May.
* IEPC resources page: www.protestantnews.eu/europe/8242
* Live web streaming: www.overcomingviolence.org/
* An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace: www.overcomingviolence.org/en/resources-dov/wcc-resources/documents/decl...
* All Ekklesia's material on IEPC: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/ipec
* Twitter (www.twitter.com) hash-tags: #iepc #peace