You shall be my witnesses: Evangelisation in the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in Europe.

14th meeting of the Bishops of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches
Oradea, Romania, 3-6 November 2011.

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The bishops representing the fourteen Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in Europe will devote the reflections at their annual meeting to the theme of the New Evangelisation.

The meeting in Oradea (Romania) constitutes, in fact, the only opportunity for the Greek-Catholic bishops to discuss the theme together before the 13th Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Rome, October 2012) and is testimony, following the CCEE Plenary Assembly (Tirana, Albania, 29 September – 2 October) and the forthcoming CCEE Seminar in Rome on 22 November, to the attention of the Church in Europe to this issue.

The meeting, sponsored by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), also aims at being an opportunity for episcopal communion and promoting awareness in Europe of the richness of the various Eastern traditions of European Catholicism.

“We are aware that the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in Europe have their own specific contribution to make to the thirteenth Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2012”, said His Beatitude Lucian Mureşan, Major Archbishop of Făgăras and Alba Iulia (Romanian) and President of the Romanian Bishops’ Conference.

“The meeting in Oradea therefore constitutes not just an important moment for preparation, but also one of comparison about some of the challenges linked to the ability to proclaim the Gospel in our Churches, which in the twenty years since the fall of the totalitarian regimes have had to face up to societies in rapid change in which secularisation, emigration and relativism have modified the paradigms and methods not just of church belonging and religious practice, but also of the transmission and proclamation of the Gospel, and so they call our Churches to a communal discernment aimed at finding appropriate solutions for the current socio-cultural context. Likewise, there is also a need to take into account that many of our faithful live in communities which are outside the national context in which we work.

We have the duty and urgency to respond to their need of Christ where they are in communion with the church bodies where they find themselves living”.
  The theme of the new evangelisation will be introduced by five contributions focussing on different aspects. First of all, there will be an introduction from the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, Mgr Rino Fisichella.

  This will be followed by interventions from Mgr Boris Gudzik, Rector of the Greek-Catholic University of Lviv, on the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches twenty years after the fall of the totalitarian regimes; from Fr Marko Rupnik, world famous artist, on sacred Byzantine art in the context of the new evangelisation; from Cesare Alzati, professor at the Catholic University of Milan, on the contribution of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches to the new evangelisation in Europe.

  The final element wil be introduced by Fr Alexandru Buzalic, professor at the University of Cluj-Napoca, on the presence of “new movements” in Eastern Europe and in particular in Romania. Each address will be followed by ample time for debate aimed at drawing up a joint contribution to the 2012 Synodal Assembly.

Also participating in the November meeting, which is being organised and hosted by Mgr Virgil Bercea, Bishop of Oradea-Mare, will be Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and CCEE President, Mgr Cyril Vasil, Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and the Apostolic Nuncio to Romania and the Republic of Moldova, Mgr Francisco Javier Lozano.

At the start of the meeting, on Thursday 3 November, the Romanian Government’s Secretary of State for Religious Affairs, Dr Adrian Lemeni, the Mayor of Oradea, Ilie Bolojan and the Orthodox Bishop Sofronie, will welcome the participants.

The meeting is behind closed doors. Journalists may attend only the opening session, on Thursday 3 November at 1600. Interviews and filming can be arranged with the local Media Officer.

A News Release will be published at the end of the meeting.
To the Council of the Bishops´Conferences of Europe (CCEE) belong, as members, the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences of this Continent, represented by right by their Presidents, and the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.) and the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo.

The President is Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary; the Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, and Mgr Józef Michalik, Archbishop of Przemyśl. The General Secretary is Mgr. Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland).