Welcome Remarks to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by Rev. Lee Hong Jung, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea (Seoul, December 4, 2018)

Your All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,

On behalf of the National Council of Churches in Korea of which the Korean Orthodox Church is a prominent member led by the faithful servanthood of Metropolitan Ambrose of Korea, I would like to sincerely welcome your 4th visit to the Korean Peninsula.

I believe that Your All-Holiness’s ‘costly’ visit to Korea in the midst of the historic peace process of the Korean Peninsula will be regarded as a sign of God’s grace for the reconciliation between the North and South, building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

Although multilateral intergovernmental peace negotiation is going on in order to build a geopolitical peace environment on the Korean Peninsula, we all believe that without people’s mind-integration there will be no authentic peace among people.

This is the reason why we should pursue building a people-oriented and life-centric peace regime in which the Church’s role as peace-mediator must be actively manifested in a prophetic way.

Your All-Holiness’s life, particularly since November 2, 1991 when you became the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch, has been devoted not only for the whole Orthodox Church but also to the whole world in which the Church must live out the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ, becoming the salt and light of the world and bridging over the troubled world.

In accordance with Your All-Holiness’s title, you are regarded as the first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and as the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

This means that your life has realized what Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave, just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mathew 20:26-8)

We have valued very much your life-long ministry engaging not only in intra-Orthodox cooperation, intra-Christian and inter-religious dialogue including your formal visits to Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim leaders who did not often meet previous Ecumenical Patriarchs, but also we have valued your engagement in for reconciliation and peace, religious freedom and tolerance, human rights, refugees, ecology and the natural environment, and so on. The world may recognize you as a ‘servant-being-in-between’ who leads the people and nature of the broken and wounded world toward healing and reconciliation in the Grace of the Triune God.

Your All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “the Green Patriarch,” your presence on the Korean Peninsula will become the symbolic action of God’s ‘costly’ engagement in the present peace process, and we believe that the people of the world are ready to listen and follow your wisdom and guidance so that we may make a notable advance for the irreversible peace-building on the Korean Peninsula.