24 September 1918 - 22 September 2018
Patriarch Emeritus Gregorios III was happy to participate in the abbey’s celebrations. In the morning, a solemn mass had been celebrated by Bishop Stefan Oster in the basilica, after which followed a concert in the upper church, with speeches from the abbot, Marianus Bieber, the state-minister Bernd Sibler and the district councillor, Christian Bernreiter. In the afternoon, His Beatitude presided at Byzantine Vespers in the St Nicholas Church. The whole occasion offered a good opportunity for him to visit the abbey and join in the festivities.
He brought the monks greetings from the Holy Land, and from the countries suffering from war, from Palestine with its seventy-year long conflict, from Iraq, and from Syria, now in its eighth year of crisis.
He writes, “My presence was a reminder of my predecessor, Maximos IV’s visiting Niederaltaich during the International Eucharistic Conference in Munich (1960), and later, on the occasion of the Second Vatican Council, together with some bishops of the Melkite Church.
“My work is also related to that of the monastery, because my Arabic quarterly, Unity in Faith, was exchanged with the German quarterly, Una Sancta edited by the monastery, and that of the Christkönigsinstitut in Meitingen.
“This also demonstrates the common core of ecumenism at the heart of this Benedictine monastery’s work and that of the Meitingen sisters, and of my work, which is why the Mother Superior of the Institute, Anna Maria Bäumler, and two sisters accompanied me there.”
His Beatitude profited from the occasion to remind everyone that through his participation in this feast, he was able to exchange ideas on ecumenism, the war in Syria and the Church’s efforts to help and work for peace.
His Beatitude concludes, “May all the world’s Church leaders work more closely together for unity and peace in our world.”
In 1918 after a period of secularisation, the Niederaltaich Monastery was reorganized as a Priory of Metten Benedictine Abbey. For its ecumenical work, see its English language website: http://www.abtei-niederaltaich.de/ecumenism/?L=3