The Eastern European Mission : a concrete strategy for implementing  a “vision” for our day

 

 

In his last letter dedicated to the Eastern European Mission, “….In One Body,”  Fr. Richard Lamoureux, Superior General, wrote:

 

“ …I find that the project for Bucharest that the Province of France has been contemplating for some time now is the project behind which we must invest our greatest energies and resources.  What I have understood of this project impresses me with its modesty and its realism, but also with its promise and with its potentially important impact not only locally but on the entire Assumptionist mission in Eastern Europe. It is a very concrete project, a precise strategy, but one inspired by a broader vision. It would allow the Assumption to be present in an important and explicit way in the Orthodox world.

 The project entails the refounding of an Assumptionist community in the building in Bucharest (Christian Tell Street) built by the Congregation in 1936. The intention would be to create an ecumenical center, and house the very rich ecumenical library of the French Institute of Byzantine Studies. When I first heard of the project, I thought of the ecumenical community of Enzo Bianchi in Bose (Italy) and could easily imagine a similar community in Bucharest, of Assumptionist inspiration, even with Catholic and Orthodox members. The community would be our first mission, with a strong emphasis on fraternal life (the best “strategy” for the ecumenical mission) and of a life of common prayer at once open to visitors, beautiful, and inspired by our sister Christian traditions. Also, the brothers, depending on their own training and charisms, could be involved in ecumenical study, teaching and research, as well as in pastoral and social endeavors with other Christians.”

 

These words of Fr. General have begun to take on flesh. In reality, the first step in making this refoundation of the community in Bucharest a reality was the restitution of the house on Christian Tell Street, which had been confiscated during the Communist regime.   Well, after many months and much effort, this is now a fait accompli. We are now in possession of our house once again.

 

But what is the history of this house which is slated to give a new impetus to the Eastern Mission? We recommend that you read a letter which appeared in a newsletter entitled, “Mission of the Augustinians of the Assumption,” in November 1936, in which Fr. L. Barral gives an account of his purchase of the house.

 

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