Vatican City, Nov 30, 2016 / 16:15 pm
The Bishop of Rome sent a message to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on Wednesday, continuing a recent tradition of ecumenism between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
"The exchange of delegations between Rome and Constantinople on the occasion of the respective feast days honouring the brother apostles Peter and Andrew is a visible sign of the profound bonds that already unite us," Pope Francis said Nov. 30 in his message to Bartholomew I, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.
"So too, it is an expression of our yearning for ever deeper communion, until that day when, God willing, we may witness to our love for one another by sharing the same eucharistic table. In this journey towards the restoration of eucharistic communion between us, we are sustained by the intercession not only of our patron saints, but by the array of martyrs from every age, who 'despite the tragedy of our divisions… have preserved an attachment to Christ and to the Father so radical and absolute as to lead even to the shedding of blood'."
The message was conveyed by a Holy See delegation to Istanbul to celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, who founded the see. The delegation was led by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and it took part in a Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomew.