Pope Francis sent a delegation to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressing the need for reconciliation, fraternity, and unity in today’s world and greetings on the Feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle, on November 30.
In his message, Pope Francis said, “Today’s world is greatly in need of reconciliation, fraternity, and unity.”
It is a long-standing tradition of the annual exchange of the Delegations between the Vatican and the Patriarchate for their respective patronal feasts, the Feast of St. Peter and Paul on June 29 in Rome, and St. Andrew on November 30 in Istanbul.
The Pope remarks that the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate journey together toward the goal of unity and work together for the common good of the human family in many areas of safeguarding creation, defending human dignity, combatting modern forms of slavery, and promoting peace.
Among them, interreligious dialogue is one of the most successful areas of such cooperation.
Recalling the “Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence” in Bahrain, the Pope stressed, “Dialogue and encounter are the only viable path for overcoming conflicts and all forms of violence.”
The Pope highlights the need to analyze the origin of the ongoing divisions on historical and theological reasons “in a spirit that is neither polemical nor apologetic but marked instead by authentic dialogue and mutual openness”.
By both churches acknowledging the divisions as the result of sinful actions and attitudes, he invited “to work towards the restoration of unity between Christians not merely through signed agreements but through fidelity to the Father’s will and discernment of the promptings of the Spirit”.
The Pope concluded with a prayer for the victims of the terrorist attack in Istanbul on November 12.
After the General Audience on Wednesday, the Pope greeted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and prayed, “May the intercession of the holy brother Apostles Peter and Andrew soon allow the Church to fully enjoy her unity and peace to the whole world, especially at this moment to dear and tormented Ukraine, always in our hearts and in our prayers.”
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri consigned the Pope’s message to H.B. Bartholomew and read out at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Patriarchal church of St. George at the Fanar.
After the Liturgy, the Vatican Delegation, with the Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, Archbishop Marek Solczyński, met with the Patriarch and held conversations with the Synodal Commission in charge of relations with the Catholic Church. - With inputs from Vatican News
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