Rome Newsroom, Nov 30, 2023 / 11:13 am
On the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, Pope Francis sent a message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople expressing his “fraternal affection” and reflecting on the “deep bonds of faith, hope, and charity” between the two churches.
The pope opened the letter by focusing on the journey of reconciliation between the two churches, noting that the feast of St. Andrew precedes the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem in January 1964.
“That encounter was a vital step forward in breaking down the barrier of misunderstanding, distrust, and even hostility that had existed for almost a millennium. It is noteworthy that today we remember not so much the words and statements of those two prophetic pastors but above all their warm embrace,” the pope said in his letter.
“The example of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras shows us that all authentic paths to the restoration of full communion among the Lord’s disciples are characterized by personal contact and time spent together,” Francis continued.