The Holy Father received His Beatitude Chrysostom II, Archbishop of New Justinian and of Cyprus, in Rome on Saturday. The two exchanged greetings and met privately, before adjourning to the Vatican Library. There, the two leaders made formal statements, before exchanging gifts and signing a joint declaration in favour of ecclesial unity and of peace in the world.
In his discourse, the Benedict XVI said that the Archbishop Chrysostom’s visit was a consolation for him, because in this event he sees how “the Lord has not ceased to guide our steps in the way of unity and of reconciliation.”
The Pope observed that the Archbishop “had not come from Cyprus to Rome simply for an exchange of ecumenical courtesy, but to strengthen the firm decision to persevere in prayer so that the Lord may show us the way to reach full communion.”
The Archbishop of the Orthodox Church replied that “perhaps our eyes will not be able to see the much-desired unity of the Church, but with the grace of the Holy Spirit we will have done our duty in time and space as peacemakers and as true brothers, "ut omnes unum sint”.
His Beatitutude Chrsysostom II continued, saying that “The Orthodox way passes through spirituality, penance, fasting, the study of the texts of the Fathers of the Church…the sense of the sacred and above all, the Divine Eucharist: these are our spiritual weapons and we desire to fight together with the sister Church of Rome to transform European society, which is anthropocentric, into a Christocenctric society.”
In the joint declaration, the two spiritual leaders affirmed together their “firm and sincere disposition, in obedience to the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify the search for full unity among Christians.” They encouraged, in addition, the Catholics and Orthodox Christians of Cypress to live in fraternity, due to their common Christian faith, and encouraged dialogue among Orthodox and Catholic theologians.
Finally, the two Church leaders appealed for peace: “We address…this appeal to all those who, anywhere in the world, raise their hand against their own brothers, exhorting them firmly to set down their arms and to work towards a healing of the wounds caused by war.”