November 2, 2021
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Dear Rabbi David Fox Sandmel
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are particularly grateful to the members of the Academic Consultation between the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations and the Orthodox Church for your effort to maintain a bond of trust and understanding. Throughout history, our two communities have shared many commonalities. We are two people who have been steadfast in the face of adversity. We are two people who have resisted oppression. We are two people who are ministering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We are two people that believe in the intrinsic dignity of the human being, fashioned in the image and likeness of God.
This belief in the divine dignity of the human being motivates us to seek justice for all people, in response to the call of Prophet Isaiah: “Let all the nations gather, and let the people assemble.” (Isaiah 43:9)
As Orthodox Christians, we stand together with our Jewish brothers and sisters and condemn anti-Semitism and all acts of bigotry and hatred, whenever and wherever they occur. As such, we follow the witness of countless Orthodox Christians, who risked their lives during the Second World War to save the lives of their Jewish neighbors. It is our belief that every life is precious. The Jewish community has recognized many of these Orthodox Christians who aided Jews in their time of need as “Righteous among the Nations,” and has had them commemorated at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
As a Church, the memory of these great men and women of our faith motivates us to be worthy successors to their examples. You all know their names: Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, Saint Mary Skobtsova, Saint Dimitri Klepinin, and the Reverend Cyrille Argenti.
Your Eminence, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
Time has been given to us to commemorate, but now we are called to build together the future relationship of our respective religious traditions.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations have enjoyed more than forty years of fruitful collaboration, understanding, and dialogue between Judaism and Orthodox Christianity. We would like to commend His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon for maintaining and reinvigorating this historic dialogue. We look forward to seeing your new program reinforce collaboration and develop sustained relationships, so that together we may address, honestly and humbly, the burning issues affecting our respective communities and relations between Orthodox Christianity and Judaism.
Thank you for your kind attention and for your thoughtful gift.