Thomas Schirrmacher during his tribute to Cardinal Kurt Koch 2 (from the left): Thomas Schirrmacher, Diop Ganoune, General Secretary of the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions (CSCWC) and of the Seventh-day Adventists, Martin Junge, President of the CSCWC and the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Cardinal Kurt Koch, the delegate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate © BQ / Martin Warnecke

Thomas Schirrmacher during his tribute to Cardinal Kurt Koch (from the left): Thomas Schirrmacher, Diop Ganoune, General Secretary of the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions (CSCWC) and of the Seventh-day Adventists, Martin Junge, President of the CSCWC and the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Cardinal Kurt Koch, the delegate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate © BQ / Martin Warnecke

Thomas Schirrmacher has dedicated his book “Coffee Breaks with the Pope” to Cardinal Kurt Koch for his efforts in connection with the “ecumenism of martyrdom.“ In a small ceremony during the course of a joint dinner of the annual Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions, which took place this year in Rome, Schirrmacher paid tribute to Koch as a farsighted moderator for ecumenical relations. As a representative of what is by far the largest church on earth, Koch never comes across in a commanding fashion but rather extremely humbly and showing great interest in hearing the viewpoints of others and willing to take them seriously. In addition, he sees ecumenism from the perspective of Jesus Christ as the martyr above all others and of the martyrs who stand before God’s throne. That than is not a cheap and quickly organized community of churches, but one which thinks about the deepest mysteries of our faith and what has been given to us jointly.

Just one day after its release, Schirrmacher had presented Cardinal Koch with a copy of the book at the Cardinal’s official residence, and on the day thereafter a presentation had been made to Pope Frances himself. Upon the occasion of the next encounter with the Pope in Baku, Azerbaidjan, Schirrmacher presented an additional copy to the Papal photographer Francesco Sforza, from whom the cover of the book and numerous additional photos in the book originated. Up to now, the papal photographer has produced photographic documentation of about one-half of the times Pope Francis and Schirrmacher have met.

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