The Holy Father has sent a message to the 10th Inter-Christian Symposium, dedicated to dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. Pope Benedict XVI said that although Christian unity is not yet perfect, we all look with hope towards “the blessed day” of full communion in order to celebrate the one Eucharist.
The ecumenical initiative, organized every two years by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality of the Pontifical Antonianum University and by the Department of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, seeks to flesh out the common heritage of the faith and traditions between Catholics and Orthodox.
The theme of this year’s symposium is “St. John Chrysostom: Bridge Between East and West" and coincides with the 1600th anniversary of the death of the saint, considered a doctor of the Church both in the East and the West.
The Holy Father said the symposium would contribute to “to upholding and corroborating the real -- though imperfect -- communion that exists between Catholics and Orthodox, so that we may reach that fullness which will one day enable us to concelebrate the one Eucharist.” “And it is to that blessed day that we all look with hope, organizing practical initiatives such as this one,” the Pope added.
The Holy Father also pointed out that, “The ecumenical cooperation in the academic field contributes to maintaining an impetus toward the longed for communion among all Christians.”
St. John “Golden-Mouthed”
In his message the Pope referred to St. John Chrysostom as “a valiant, illuminated and faithful preacher of the Word of God, upon which he founded his pastoral action; such an extraordinary hermeneutist (scholar of Scriptural interpretation) and speaker that, from the fifth century, he was given the title of Chrysostom, which means golden-mouthed.”
In 2004, the Holy Father continued, “my venerated predecessor John Paul II gave part of the relics [of St. John] to His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and, thus, this great Father of the Church is now venerated in the Vatican basilica as well as in the Church of St. George in Fanar.”