Pope writes to Bartholomew pledging to continue working together for ecumenism and the protection of creation
In a letter marking the 30th anniversary of the Patriarch’s election, Francis speaks about their “fraternal friendship”. He goes on to say that “the way of dialogue, in charity and in truth, [is] the only possible way for reconciliation between believers in Christ and for the re-establishment of their full communion.” To this end, he notes that he shares with Bartholomew “the understanding of our common pastoral responsibility in the face of the urgent challenges confronting the entire human family today.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis addressed a letter today to Bartholomew I on the 30th anniversary of his election as Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch.
In the missive, the pontiff cites their shared commitments to ecumenism, to the protection of creation, and to “the need for the spiritual conversion of humanity”.
“Χρόνια πολλά! Ad multos annos!” writes the Pope, expressing hope that the Lord “will grant you health, spiritual joy and abundant grace to sustain every aspect of your lofty service.
“It is with gratitude to God that I reflect on our own profound personal bond, from the time of the inauguration of my papal ministry (Mass on 19 March 2013), when you honoured me with your presence in Rome.
“Over time, this bond has become a fraternal friendship nurtured in many meetings not only in Rome, but also at the Phanar, in Jerusalem, Assisi, Cairo, Lesvos, Bari and Budapest,” and finally Rome, on 4 October, during the meeting Faith and Science, Towards COP26.
“I share with you the understanding of our common pastoral responsibility in the face of the urgent challenges confronting the entire human family today.
“In particular, I assure you of my appreciation for your commitment to safeguarding creation and for your reflection on this issue, from which I have learned and continue to learn much.”
This is a reference to a statement Francis made about “the light coming from him and from the Church of Constantinople was strong” when he was speaking about his encyclical Laudato Sì.
The Holy Father goes on to say that, “With the outbreak of the pandemic and the ensuing grave health, social and economic repercussions, your testimony and teaching on the need for the spiritual conversion of humanity have acquired enduring relevance.”
“I sincerely thank you for ceaselessly indicating the way of dialogue, in charity and in truth, as the only possible way for reconciliation between believers in Christ and for the re-establishment of their full communion.
“With God’s help, this is the path along which we will most certainly continue to walk together, for the closeness and solidarity between our Churches are an indispensable contribution to universal brotherhood and social justice, of which humanity is so urgently in need.
“With sentiments of deep fraternal affection, I exchange with Your All Holiness a holy embrace in the love of Christ the Lord.”