An official speech by the Patriarch of Costantinople Bartholomew I on his is meeting with Pope Francis and the history of the relation between “Sister Churches”.

Last update: 2022-04-22 09:38:02

Beloved faithful and friends, The historic meeting on January 5th 1964 between the visionary leaders of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, the late Pope Paul VI and our own venerable predecessor Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, marked the beginning a new era in the relations between our two churches, which the same pioneers called “sister churches”. The significance of that event can only be fully appreciated if placed against the background of an entire millennium of the Church separation and division, granted with theological estrangement and mutual mistrust between the two great traditions of the Eastern and Western Church. Of course, the 1964 meeting in Jerusalem was only the beginning of a very long journey, which the following generations were called to continue. Looking back at the 50 years that ensued after the event, both churches can be grateful that a great deal has been achieved both in the dialogue of love, that is to say the general exchanges and communications between their leaders and representatives, and in the dialogue of truth, namely the official, theological dialogue and discussions. The spirit of fraternal love and mutual respect has replaced the old polemic and suspicion. Needless to say, there is still a lot to be achieved and indeed the path seems to be long. However, we are called to follow this path in spite of all difficulties and drawbacks. As believers and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed that his disciples may be one, ut unum sint, we recognize that we have no other alternative. We pray that you will walk with us on this journey toward reconciliation. May God Bless you