Wednesday, March 20, 2013

EP invites Pope to travel with him to Holy Land

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople has invited Pope Francis to travel with him to the Holy Land next year to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the embrace between Patriarch Athenagoras and Paul VI, the pioneers of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. During their private meeting, Bartholomew and Francis explored possible paths towards unity, including theological dialogue, environmental defence, and a visit to the Fanar, after going through proper diplomatic channels.

Earlier, when the pontiff met Christian and other religious leaders, Bartholomew I was the only one who addressed Pope Francis. For the patriarch, Christians must bear witness in a credible way through "Church unity" in order to cope with the world's economic crisis and to counter "worldly trends" that limit life to its earthly horizons. Bartholomew's words reflect the pontiff's notion of stewardship, which he presented yesterday during his inaugural mass.

All this is evidence of the great unity between the two leaders. When Pope Francis introduced the patriarch, he called him, off the cuffs, "my brother Andrew" underscoring the blood ties between the two apostles patrons of the two Churches, Andrew of Constantinople and Peter of Rome, the "first one to be called" and the "first one among the apostles".

Like Francis, Bartholomew referred to Benedict XVI "as a mild man who distinguished himself by his theological knowledge and charity."

When he spoke about the "task and huge responsibilities" that await the pope, he said that "the unity of Christian Churches" was "the first and most important of our concerns" in order to ensure that "our Christian witness is seen to be credible near and far." Hence, it is necessary to continue "the theological dialogue" between Catholics and Orthodox, based on the experience and tradition of the first undivided thousand years.

The world's economic crisis is another "imperative," requiring that "those who have more give more" so that "justice can ensure peace".

The pope, Bartholomew said, has a "long and valued ministry as a Good Samaritan in Latin America. [. . .] Like few others, he has known the bitterness and suffering of human misery."

Echoing what Pope Francis said yesterday in his homily, Bartholomew also noted that "We have a duty to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, cure the sick".

The patriarch went on to praise the pope for "his choice of simplicity," a necessity if we want to correct the "worldly notions" that have emerged among Christians and others that weaken the notions of justice, mercy and cooperation among men by encouraging them to remain too attached to the earthly things.

"The Church," said Bartholomew, "blesses earthly life but does not limit its mission to it." We must correct "worldly notions" so that man can return to the "original beauty, that of charity."


  1. Can you please tell me some words about ghis icon?

    1. Not a lot really.

  2. God forgive me for being so mundane, but +Bartholomew needs Rome far more than the reverse. Not a good position to negotiate from. And 'environmental defense?' That means less humans generating less CO2 and less resource extraction to fund 'social justice.' Is Il Papa on board with all that, even assuming its relevancy?

    Why are we not having these discussions with the Oriental Orthodox? Is that cause considered hopeless?

    What is Orthodoxy in the West? A missionary Church on the eventual path to autocephaly or a dwindling diaspora with the territories to be eventually ceded back to Rome?

    From my remote seat back in the furthest pew of world Orthodoxy, these are the questions in my mind. I hope our hierarchs have them as well.

  3. If the Oriental Orthodox - or more importantly the Old Calendarists - held as much worldly power as the Pope of Rome you can bet your bottom dollar we would see our Hierarchs in serious dialogues to heal those relationships. Unfortunately no one seems interested in truly healing any schisms or fractions and so instead we watch these exchanges of flowery words, honours and rewards but to no good end.

    1. Patriarch John X began a dialogue with the Syriacs:

  4. Frankly, we *are* having these conversations with the Old Calendarists and the Oriental Orthodox; they just don't get the same press because the *media* are the ones most interested in publicizing articles about worldly power. (Of course, this is more a condemnation of their readership, but I digress.)

    I don't know if the hermeneutic of political economics is really necessary--but even if it were, it's possible that Francis's 'need' for +Bartholomew is more for the opportunity afforded by being seen with a group who is Christian, traditional, and most importantly who doesnt' have the negative cultural baggage in the West that the Catholic church currently has.

    I'd rather view it on it's face, however, & hope this is an ingenuous overture of a desire for a legitimate unity however hard & long that road is to travel.

  5. Jannis, it is not an icon just a painting. Notice no haloes and also it is not painted in iconographic style with inverse perspective and in 2 dimension style etc.