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May 5 2010

The Meeting “The poor as the Church treasure: Ortodhox and Catholic on the way of charity” took place yesterday in Rome.

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A day on the theme “The poor as the Church treasure: Orthodox and Catholic on the way of charity” took place yesterday in the Community of Sant’Egidio Meeting Hall, in Rome.

A large and interested audience – that filled up not only the meeting hall but also the next video-connected rooms – followed the meeting, that has given voice to different Christian traditions on a theme that is a constituent element of the Christian identity and one of the factors of unity of the Church.

“As Christian of different traditions we are already united by the love for the poor” claimed Andrea Riccardi, stressing how this love is an answer to the profound present questions of the human kind.
“We are facing a hard time. Many people are suffering in the rich countries, as the economic crisis is increasing the poverty. These are not only happy days. In the southern part of the world, in the poorest countries, so many people are suffering. The solidarity is decreasing, in the market, because of economic crisis and competition…The problem is no more defending the poor, but to defend ourselves from the poor. Yes, to defend ourselves from the poor! When economics becomes a criterion among the society, the poor are worthless…That’s why the poor become invisible. The elderly (a longer life is a great gift, to increase life expectancy realizes a centuries-old dream) are driven out of families and die alone, in hospices, not seen. Sick, imprisoned, far from our sight. The beggars are banished from the city centers, because they uglify the environment. The poor don’t make headlines. The media soon forget the poverty: this is the case of Haiti, soon forgotten after the media huge regard of the first days after the terrible heartquake.”

The same concern was expressed by metropolitan Filaret of Minsk, Moscow Patriarchate.
He stated how charity has flourished again in eastern churches after sovietic regime, but at the same time noticed that: “In contemporary societies, words like «charity» and «beneficence» are gradually disappearing from spoken language and seem quite obsolete.”

Along the day many eastern and western voices joined the reflections. We publish above some pictures of them. 

Gallery (first session)

Gallery (second session)

The program
h 9.30 am

Adriano Roccucci; andrea Riccardi; Filarete di Minsk; Roger Etchegaray; Vincenzo Paglia

Vincenzo Paglia
Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia

Charity: theology and life of Orthodox Churches
Metropolitan of Minsk and Sluck, patriarchal Exharc of Belarus, Moscow Patriarchate

Charity: a vision for the XXI century Christianity
Andrea Riccardi
Founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio

Charity in the Catholic Church vision
Roger Etchegaray
Cardinal, Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals

Coffee Break
h 11.30 am


Ambrogio Spreafico; Adriano Roccucci; Filaret di Minsk; Antonij di Borispol; Innocenzo Gargano

Metropolitan of Minsk and Sluck, patriarchal Exharc of Belarus, Moscow Patriarchate

God loves the poor: Word of God and charity
Ambrogio Spreafico
Bishop of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino

Eucharistic sacrament, sacrament of the poor: liturgy and charity
Archbishop of Borispol’, Rector of Theological Academy of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Church

Two great bishop and the poverty: Basilium of  Cesarea and Gregorium Magnum
Innocenzo Gargano
Prior of San Gregorio al Celio Monastery in Rome

Monasticism and the poor
Metropolitan of eastern and southern Europe, Romanian Patriarchate


h 3.30 pm


Laurentiu di Sibiu; Maria Cristina Marazzi; Vincenzo Paglia; Zoran Nedeljokovic

Vittorio Ianari
Community of Sant’Egidio

The saints, friends of the poor
Archbishop of Sibiu and Metropolitan of Ardeal, Romanian Patriarchate

The poor as our brothers: the Community of Sant’Egidio life
Maria Cristina Marazzi
Community of Sant’Egidio

Church, city, poor: history of alliance
Vincenzo Paglia
Bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia

Fathers and the poor
Zoran Nedeljkovic
Director of the Serbian Patriarchate Library

Coffee Break
h 5.30 pm


Marco Impagliazzo; Arkadij Satov; Marco Gnavi

Marco Impagliazzo
President of the Community of Sant’Egidio

The Church and the new poverties: an opinion from Moscow
Arkadij Šatov
President of the Synodal department for charity and social aid, Moscow Patriarchate

Reading the city beginning from the poor
Marco Gnavi
Community of Sant’Egidio

The social condition in new Russia
Werner Gumpel
University of Munich

The Church and the new poverties: an opinion from Bucharest
Nicolae Dima
Patriarchal councillor, Romanian Patriarchate

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