Tbilisi, Georgia, Sep 30, 2016 / 07:42 am
God's love and our unity in Christ are what enable us to overcome conflict and disagreement, and to spread the Gospel – which is what bears spiritual and artistic fruit, Pope Francis said in Georgia on Friday.
“Truly, the love of the Lord raises us up, because it enables us to rise above the misunderstandings of the past, above the calculations of the present and fears for the future,” the Pope said in a meeting with the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, which is one of the 14 autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Unity between the Georgian Orthodox Church and Catholic Church, joined with a firm faith in Christ, the Pope said, is necessary so that “the Gospel may bear fruit in our day,” just as saints “put the Gospel before all else.”
Pope Francis met with Ilia II, Catholicos and Patriarch of All Georgia, at the Patriarchal Palace in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi Sept. 30.
Tbilisi is the Pope’s first stop during his Sept. 30-Oct. 2 visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan. Expected to largely focus on the topics of peace, ecumenism, and interreligious dialogue, the trip is seen as a conclusion of his Caucasus tour, following his visit to Armenia in June.
In his speech, the Pope expressed that love is the path to overcoming all disagreements and conflict, stating that the “true enemy” is not other people, but the evil spirit that is within ourselves.
“It is as if the great poet of this land, Shota Rustaveli, is speaking to us with some of his renowned words,” Pope Francis said.
Quoting from the epic poem “The Knight in the Panther's Skin,” he said: “Have you read how the Apostles write about love, how they speak, how they praise it? Know this love, and turn your mind to these words: love raises us up.”