Pope Francis Expresses “Fervent Hope” for Joint Catholic-Orthodox Initiatives

On the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, Pope Francis sent a message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, praising his international efforts on behalf of the care of creation and the peaceful coexistence of religions, and asking for prayers during his journey in Asia, which will conclude on December 2.

La Croix International reported on the message, in which Pope Francis recalled the exchange which occurred during the historic meeting between Blessed Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in 1967.

The Pope urged continued theological dialogue and joint initiatives. The message also carried a personal note in light of the shared commitment of the two leaders to ecology and peace:

“Your Holiness’s commitment is a source of inspiration, support and encouragement for me personally for, as you well know, we share these same concerns,” Pope Francis wrote.

“It is my fervent hope that Catholics and Orthodox may promote joint initiatives at the local level with regard to these issues, for there are many contexts in which Orthodox and Catholics can already work together without waiting for the day of full and visible communion.”

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