Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch
“Your choice of upholding humility, your Holiness, makes it quite evident that this way of thinking is leading your path. This act alone is already filling the hearts of the faithful with hope, and in general that of all people throughout the world.¨
The chairman of Moscow´s Patriarchate, Hilarion, was also among the guests. Pope Francis highlighted that the Church is committed to promoting unity among believers, especially now that the Church is celebrating the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
“I want to assure you that I will follow in the footsteps of my predecessors, in their openness and commitment to ecumenical dialogue. I also want to thank the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.”
The Pope also greeted Jewish and Muslim representatives. He acknowledged their special relationship with the Church, but he also called on them to make a commitment for a peaceful co-existence.
“The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of various religious traditions. This is a point I want to repeat once again: The promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions.”
After his speech, the Pope greeted each representative, one by one. Perhaps the friendliest greeting was with a rabbi from Buenos Aires, which is the city where Bergoglio was archbishop. The Pope received several gifts that reflect all the cultural and religious diversity in the room. The gifts included these Eastern icons and this colorful African Cross.