Address by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch B A R T H O L O M E W at the Celebration of the 30 years of bilateral relations between Türkiye and Croatia (Pera Palace, 6 February 2022)
Honorable Dr. Ivana Zerec, Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in Istanbul,
It is our great joy and privilege to address the distinguished audience gathered here at the Pera Palace – this historic haven of dialogue and diplomacy – and to join in the celebrations marking thirty years of bilateral relations between the Republics of Türkiye and Croatia. Today, we wholeheartedly offer our congratulations to both in acknowledgement of 30 years of mutual rapprochement, common initiatives, and fruitful cooperation for the prosperity of the two nations, for progress and peace.
We do not claim to possess any skills in diplomacy, nor, indeed in politics or economics. However, our service at the helm of the universal Orthodox community has shown us that the aim of politics and of economics is – and must be – the service of humanity, the defence of our shared, universal values in a spirit of understanding and fraternity, and the protection of our οἶκος – our home, the natural environment.
We categorically reject the disparaging phrase “There is no alternative.” Plainly, we reject the claim that non-conformity to the mandates of the dominant paradigm of politics and of the principle of the “autonomy of economy” lead to the expansion of poverty and to uncontrollable social conflicts. There must be an alternative to a development which surrenders humankind to consumerism, drives people to fend for themselves, makes them indifferent toward the plight of others, with which they are cohabiting this world. It is necessary and possible to replace an economy which destroys the environment with a sustainable “ecological economy.”
Today, our world is undeniably changing rapidly. The causes of these unforeseen changes are this century’s remarkable scientific and technological developments, events that constitute the greatest universal cultural revolution in humanity’s history. No one can disregard these without being marginalized. At the same time, we experience the increasing presence of social injustice, forced migration and discrimination, war and violence, violation of human rights, exploitation of the natural resources and the destruction of God’s “very good” creation.
Nobody – not a nation, nor a state, nor a religion, nor science and technology – can face these problems alone. We need common responsibility, common mobilization, common efforts, common goals, we need openness to each other and sincere dialogue – we truly need one another. Every institution, every religion, every person of goodwill, and especially the young generations have a specific responsibility to contribute to the protection of freedom, human rights and dignity and to build up a culture of solidarity.
We deeply appreciate the term “solidarity,” as it offers the model of our vision for a just and sustainable world. This notion, on the one hand, points to the history of the struggles for justice, freedom and dignity, and dynamically expresses the social and political dimension of the term ‘fraternity,’ as it was formulated in the triptych of the French Revolution “Liberté – Égalité – Fraternité,” while also promoting the ideal of law and universal human rights, and a shared responsibility for the common good. On the other hand, solidarity refers to the unconditional love and to the support of our fellow human beings in need, irrespective of political, economic and social perspectives. In our mother tongue, the Greek language, the word ἀλληλεγγύη, solidarity, means simply “being close to one another.” Solidarity forever transforms all threats to opportunities and fosters a more moral and peaceful coexistence.
In this spirit, we express our gratitude for this invitation, which has allowed us to be with all of you this evening. We cordially wish to the peoples of Türkiye and Croatia long years of creative relations and to all of you, esteemed participants, good health, and every blessing from Above.
Thank you very much for your kind attention!