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Pope meets Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate delegation



28 June, 2013 - In a world hungry and thirsting for truth, love, hope, peace and unity, the witness of unity among Christians is urgent in order for them to be able to proclaim the joyful news of the Gospel and celebrate the Divine Mysteries together. Pope Francis stressed the point on Friday when he received a delegation from the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The delegation is in Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patrons of the Diocese and city of Rome, June 29, Saturday. A Catholic delegation reciprocates with a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul on the feast of its patron St. Andrew, Nov. 30. The tradition of exchanging visits by delegations of the two Churches was begun by Pope Paul VI in 1969. “Today, more than ever, the search for unity among Christians is an urgency that we cannot back away from,” the Pope said. He noted that unity is primarily a gift of God for which we must always pray, but it is our duty to prepare the conditions, to cultivate the heart, so that this extraordinary grace is welcomed. In this regard, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for the work done by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, especially in the study of primacy and sinodality. He said he personally appreciated the sense of episcopal collegiality and sinodality that is typical of Orthodox Churches.
The Church since the time of Christ had been one, until the Great Schism of 1054, also known as the East-West Schism, which split Christianity into the Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Later in the 16th century, another major split came about in the form of Protestantism within the Roman Catholic Church spearheaded by Martin Luther, John Calvin and others.




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