Pope: Increase opportunities for meetings and collaboration between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – So that one day we can "participate together at the altar of the Eucharist", Pope Francis has expressed the “hope, therefore, that opportunities may increase for meeting each other, for exchange and cooperation among Catholic and Orthodox faithful, in such a way that as we deepen our knowledge and esteem for one another, we may be able to overcome any prejudice and misunderstanding that may remain as a result of our long separation ".
The Pope was speaking during his meeting this morning with the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople which traditionally comes to Rome to participate in the solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
The tradition of visiting each other during the celebrations of the respective patron saints (Peter and Paul in Rome, St Andrew, in November, for Constantinople), has lasted for 47 years and reinforces the experience of a greater unity between the two "sister Churches" . Last year the Pope Francis visited the Phanar and met Bartholomew I.
In his address the Pope recalled that "in the recent conference of presentation of the Encyclical Laudati sì the care of our common home Patriarch Bartholomew sent Metropolitan John Zizioulas, who also headed the delegation today. It 'was the first time that a Papal encyclical was presented and explained by an Orthodox.
Francis also expressed appreciation for the theological work of the joint Catholic and Orthodox commission: " The problems which we may encounter in the course of our theological dialogue must not lead us to discouragement or resignation. The careful examination of how in the Church the principle of synodality and the service of the one who presides are articulated, will make a significant contribution to the progress of relations between our Churches".
The Pope also assured prayers for the preparation of the pan-Orthodox Synod and asked for prayers for the upcoming Synod on the family, at which, he said, we are " looking forward also to the participation of a fraternal delegate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate".
During the audience, Metropolitan John delivered a message to Francis from Bartholomew I, made public by the Vatican press office. In it, Bartholomew emphasizes the value of theological dialogue and the Joint Commission.
"We are called - he said - to support this Dialogue with all our strength by means of active participation in the appropriate Committee of the best theological representatives at the disposal of our Churches, so that this difficult work may continue beyond political or other forms of motivations, particularly in the present critical phase when we are examining the thorny issue of Primacy in the Church".
Bartholomew recalled the mutual collaboration in ecological issues, resulted in work on the encyclical "Laudato sì" and stressed that "our unity must be sought and edified not only in our common past, but also in the contemporary reality lived in the world, which invites us jointly to transmit to modern man the message of the Gospel about joy, hope and love ".