Pope confident of Catholic-Orthodox unity

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Pope Francis attend an interfaith prayer service for peace in Rome in October (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis has told the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople that he is confident that Catholics and Orthodox Christians will attain full communion. Source: CNA.

In a message to Bartholomew I on Monday, the Feast of St Andrew, Pope Francis praised the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s efforts to promote Christian unity.

“We can thank God that relations between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have grown much over the past century, even as we continue to yearn for the goal of the restoration of full communion expressed through participation at the same Eucharistic altar,” he wrote.

“Although obstacles remain, I am confident that by walking together in mutual love and pursuing theological dialogue, we will reach that goal.”

The Pope sends a message each year on November 30 to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is regarded as the successor of St Andrew the Apostle and “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Pope praised the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for seeking Christian unity “before the Catholic Church and other Churches engaged themselves in dialogue”.

He cited an encyclical letter issued by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1920, which said that Churches could heal divisions if they placed love “before everything else in their judgment of the others and in relation towards each other”.


Pope Francis tells Orthodox leader: I am confident we will achieve full unity (CNA

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