Relations with Catholics and ecology are our priorities, says Bartholomew I
by NAT da Polis
The emotions generated by the address he gave to the Synod of Bishops last month are still fresh in the Ecumenical Patriarch’s mind. Currently, he is working on an international symposium in Africa for next year to save “creation”.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – “The dialogue with Catholics is part of our priorities and the path to ecumenism is a one-way street,” said Bartholomew I who spoke to AsiaNews. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is still “very much honoured and touched” by the Benedict XVI’s invitation to address the Synod of Bishops on 18 October on the Word of God. “It was a unique experience that I shall always cherish,” the Patriarch said.

“We must all pray that one day we shall be able to celebrate the Eucharist together. The dialogue with Catholics is part of our priorities and the path to ecumenism is a one-way street. We must give thanks to our predecessors who began this journey,” he explained.

The Patriarch also reiterated the importance of relations with Catholics in a meeting held last Friday with Mgr Orazio Soricelli, archbishop of Amalfi.

Ecology and the protection of the environment is another urgent priority. Since 1989 the Patriarchal See has undertaken several initiatives in various parts of the world to raise awareness of the dangers caused by the unrestrained use of natural and human resources. For this reason, the Patriarchate is organising an international symposium in Africa next year, in the Nile Delta, to draw the “world’s attention to the ills that affect the long suffering population of Africa.”

The patriarch is also planning to open an international observatory for the protection of the environment, most likely in the former orphanage of Buyukada (Princes) Island which the Turkish government is set to return to the Patriarchate after seizing it in 1964.