The on-line lecture: reflecting on examples of holiness in different Christian traditions fosters ecumenical movement

On Tuesday, December 13 students of DLMPES had an opportunity to participate in the on-line lecture of Deacon Didier Rance, where they reflected how an example of saints and witnesses of faith could give hope for promoting ecumenical movement today.

Professor Didier Rance spent ten years in the Middle East and Africa for Humanitarian work. He worked with ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) and was Director of ACN-France (1980-2005). Didier also was a member of the New Martyrs Commission in Rome (1995-2000). Deacon Rance is the author of about twenty books, mainly on martyrs and persecuted Churches. His current fields of research are: martyrdom, Forgiveness, St. Ephrem and the Syrian Churches, Ecumenism.

In his lecture Deacon Didier explained the notion of the Ecumenical hagiology, the aim and the methods of the course. The course, said Didier, proposes study of saints in two ways: the (theological) science about saints and the science from the saints. Our field of research is to define the study of saints (in both ways) from the viewpoint of promoting unity among churches.

Deacon Rance told about heroic deeds of Christian faith by people, which belonged to different Churches. He mentioned about some events, when holiness of some saints was acknowledged first by representatives of another Christian traditions (Dietrich Bonhoeffoer, Aleksander Men and others). Didier also told about ecumenical initiatives, where relics of saints of different Churches has been gathered and are venerated by Christians in some churches or monuments.

Didier Rance for thirty years is personally involved in the work on martyrs and saints of various Christian denominations. He strongly believes that studying their lives and their exploits, reflecting on their examples of holiness make us closer to each other.