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Pope receives Members of the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration



Vatican City, 11 January 2014: Pope Francis met on Saturday members of the Catholic Committee for Cultural collaboration with Orthodox churches and Eastern Orthodox churches. The Committee marks the 50th anniversary this year.
Recalling the setting up of the Committee, Pope Francis said: the Second Vatican Council was not yet completed when Paul VI instituted the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration. The path of reconciliation and renewed brotherhood between the Churches, wonderfully marked by the first historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.
The meeting, said the Pontiff, showed the need for friendship and sharing experiences that were born from the mutual understanding between members of different Churches, and particularly among young people initiated to the sacred ministry. Thus was born, on the initiative of the then Eastern Section of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, this Committee.
Pope Francis said that the Committee at that time as it is now, with the help of generous benefactors, distributes grants to clergy and laity, from the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, who wish to complete their theological studies at academic institutions of the Catholic Church, and supports other projects of ecumenical cooperation.

Pope Francis expressed his deep gratitude to all the donors who have supported and support the Committee, and also to the members of the Management Board who have gathered in Rome for their annual meeting.

While addressing to the students who are completing their theological studies in Rome, Pope Francis said that their stay in our midst is important for the dialogue between the Churches of today and especially tomorrow. He told them that the Bishop of Rome loves them.

The Committee was established July 27, 1964 with the Letter of Pope Paul VI to Cardinal Augustin Bea, the first President of the Secretariat for Christian Unity (later the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), as part of efforts to "reestablish fraternal ties between the Catholic Church and the venerable Churches of the East," with the task of "promoting the sincere desire of knowledge and understanding with each other, based on respect and mutual charity."

In the last 50 years, hundreds of Orthodox students have been able to complete their studies at academic institutions of the Catholic Church. Today, there are fifty students attending the Pontifical Universities of Rome and five students at the Institut Catholique in Paris. The Committee has also funded several collaborative projects, especially in Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus and Lebanon.
Source: VR Sedoc




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