On March 28th, during his visitation to the Greek Orthodox parish in Oslo, Metropolitan Cleopas was invited to a meeting with the Christian Council of Norway (Churches Together). His Eminence Cleopas, Exarch of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Scandinavia, conveyed greetings from Patriarch Bartholomeus and gave a challenging speech urging the need for a strenghtened and more active ecumenism. The Exarch who is also member of the Patriarchal Council, said that the division between Christians is against Christ’s prayer for unity and paralyses the churches in the struggle with the increasing secularism in our time. Moreover, he feared that Christians are faced with a new persecution as brutal and merciless as the world saw in the third century. Confronted with these challenges, the Orthodox churches must, for their own sake, commit themselves actively in inter-denominational dialogue and ecumenical work. (The manuscript of the Metropolitan’s speech is available here.)
The following Sunday Bishop Roald Nikolai Flemestad and Dean Asle Ambrosius Dingstad were guests at the Greek parish in Oslo. At the end of the liturgy, Metropolitan Cleopas addressed the visitors from the Nordic Catholic Church. Underlining the close historical relations between Orthodoxy and Old Catholicism, the Metropolitan invited The Nordic Catholic Church to an ecumenical dialogue. Sharing the Metro-politan’s analysis of the need for a renewed ecumenism Bishop Roald Nikolai warmly welcomed his invitation.