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Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian unity, spoke at length today about ecumenism and martyrdom in his speech at the International meeting of the Community of Sant’Egidio, “Bound to Live Together. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue”, taking place in Munich.
“In today’s world, Christianity is the most persecuted religion. 80% of those persecuted because of their faith are Christians”, said Koch. “This disturbing figure represents a major challenge for Christian ecumenism, called upon to show effective solidarity. Since today all Churches and Christian ecclesiastical communities have their martyrs, we are dealing with a true ecumenism of martyrs. While we, as Christians and as Churches, live on this earth in an as yet imperfect communion, the martyrs in their celestial glory find themselves in full and perfect communion”.
Speaking before the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel, the Metropolitan of the Patriarchy of Moscow, Filaret, the President of the World Lutheran Federation Munib Younan, and Mary Tanner, Co-President of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, Koch asserted:
“Today, as Christians, we must live in the hope that the blood of modern-day martyrs may some day become the seed of full unity of the Body of Christ. But we have to demonstrate this hope in a credible manner, by helping persecuted Christians, publicly denouncing situations of martyrdom and getting involved in efforts on behalf of respect for religious freedom and human dignity. The ecumenism of martyrs, therefore, is not merely the core of ecumenical spirituality, particularly needed today, but it is also the best illustration of the inseparability of the promotion of Christian unity and preferential love for the poor”.