03/20/2013, 00.00
VATICAN - ORTHODOX
Send to a friend

United against economic crisis and "worldly trends", Bartholomew and Francis to be in Jerusalem next year

by NAT da Polis
The two will travel to the Holy Land to mark the 50th anniversary of the embrace between Athenagoras and Paul VI. The pope has been invited to Constantinople for the feast day of Saint Andrew (30 November). For the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, the pope is the 'Good Samaritan of Latin America'; for the pope, the patriarch is "My brother Andrew'. Both are committed to the environment and to the struggle against poverty and materialism.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople has invited Pope Francis to travel with him to the Holy Land next year to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the embrace between Patriarch Athenagoras and Paul VI, the pioneers of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. During their private meeting, Bartholomew and Francis explored possible paths towards unity, including theological dialogue, environmental defence, and a visit to the Fanar, after going through proper diplomatic channels.

Earlier, when the pontiff met Christian and other religious leaders, Bartholomew I was the only one who addressed Pope Francis. For the patriarch, Christians must bear witness in a credible way through "Church unity" in order to cope with the world's economic crisis and to counter "worldly trends" that limit life to its earthly horizons. Bartholomew's words reflect the pontiff's notion of stewardship, which he presented yesterday during his inaugural mass.

All this is evidence of the great unity between the two leaders. When Pope Francis introduced the patriarch, he called him, off the cuffs, "my brother Andrew" underscoring the blood ties between the two apostles patrons of the two Churches, Andrew of Constantinople and Peter of Rome, the "first one to be called" and the "first one among the apostles".

Like Francis, Bartholomew referred to Benedict XVI "as a mild man who distinguished himself by his theological knowledge and charity."

When he spoke about the "task and huge responsibilities" that await the pope, he said that "the unity of Christian Churches" was "the first and most important of our concerns" in order to ensure that "our Christian witness is seen to be credible near and far." Hence, it is necessary to continue "the theological dialogue" between Catholics and Orthodox, based on the experience and tradition of the first undivided thousand years.

The world's economic crisis is another "imperative," requiring that "those who have more give more" so that "justice can ensure peace".

The pope, Bartholomew said, has a "long and valued ministry as a Good Samaritan in Latin America. [. . .] Like few others, he has known the bitterness and suffering of human misery."

Echoing what Pope Francis said yesterday in his homily, Bartholomew also noted that "We have a duty to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, cure the sick".

The patriarch went on to praise the pope for "his choice of simplicity," a necessity if we want to correct the "worldly notions" that have emerged among Christians and others that weaken the notions of justice, mercy and cooperation among men by encouraging them to remain too attached to the earthly things.

"The Church," said Bartholomew, "blesses earthly life but does not limit its mission to it." We must correct "worldly notions" so that man can return to the "original beauty, that of charity."

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Bartholomew I: Francis is a new impetus on two Churches path towards unity
14/03/2013
Kyrill in Constantinople, a turning point important also for the dialogue with Rome
07/07/2009
Bartholomew I: may Kirill's election foster common journey of Orthodox Churches
04/02/2009
Pope: Church asks only to live in freedom
01/12/2006
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
13/06/2008


Travel