Members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity were in Rome to attend a May 3-6 plenary meeting on the theme “Towards an Ecumenical Celebration of the 1,700th Anniversary of Nicaea I (325-2025).”
Among the speakers was Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who addressed plenary participants remotely about the ecumenical situation in Ukraine amid the war.
In his speech, the pope said that members of the pontifical council were making a “valuable contribution” by reflecting on how to celebrate the anniversary of the First Council of Nicaea “in an ecumenical manner” in 2025.
The council, held in 325 A.D., was called by the emperor Constantine to confront the Arian heresy, which denied Christ’s divinity. The council promulgated the Nicene Creed, which is still accepted by Orthodox, Anglican, and other Protestant denominations.
“Despite the troubled events of its preparation and especially of the subsequent long period of reception, the first ecumenical council was an event of reconciliation for the Church, which in a synodal way reaffirmed its unity around the profession of its faith,” the pope said.
“The style and decisions of the Council of Nicaea must enlighten the present ecumenical journey and lead to new concrete steps towards the goal of fully restoring Christian unity.”
“Since the 1,700th anniversary of the First Council of Nicea coincides with the Jubilee year, I hope that the celebration of the next Jubilee will have a significant ecumenical dimension.”
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, led by the Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, traces its roots back to 1960, when Pope John XXIII established the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. It was given its current title by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
The pontifical council — located on the Via della Conciliazione, the road leading from St. Peter’s Square to the Castel Sant’Angelo — will be renamed the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity when the new Vatican constitution comes into force on June 5.