May 25, 2014 / 11:56 am
In a declaration delivered at the end of a private meeting, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Costantinople Bartholomew I marked a new step on the journey towards unity, stressing their commonality in areas such as respect for the sanctity of life and the protection of the family.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew met in Mount Scopus, Jerusalem on May 25 during the pontiff’s current three-day visit to the region.
The two signed a common declaration after a private meeting and an exchange of gifts, and then held an ecumenical celebration in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The meeting between the Pope and Patriarch marks the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Paul VI and the then Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem Jan. 6 1964, which concluded with the historical embrace between the two.
Pope Francis and the Patriarch Bartholomew wanted to commemorate that historical meeting again in Jerusalem, thus pushing to foster the ecumenical path toward the Unity of Christians.
“Our fraternal encounter today is a new and necessary step on the journey toward the unity to which only the Holy Spirit can lead us, that of communion in legitimate diversity,” the common declaration read.
Pope Francis and the Patriarch Bartholomew declared to look forward “in eager anticipation to the day in which we will finally partake together in the Eucharistic banquet,” and that Christians are “preparing to receive this gift of Eucharistic communion” through “the confession of the one faith, persevering prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue.”
The Pope and the Patriarch underscored the “substantial progress” of the theological encounters which took place under the predecessors St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Patriarch Dimitrios.
The theological dialogue “does not seek a theological lowest common denominator on which to reach a compromise, but is rather about deepening one’s grasp of the whole truth that Christ has given to his Church,” the common declaration said. …
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