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Pope Francis and Bartholomew appeal for respect for all Christians

2014-05-25

Their embrace was the culmination of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Apostle Peter reunited with his blood-brother, the Apostle Andrew. 

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew walked down the halls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They kissed and prayed before to the Stone of the Anointing.

THEOPHILOS III
"The holy places are the common refuge of humanity and they shine with the brightness of the true light, a beacon of peace and spiritual refreshment for all.”

Sitting side by side near the altar, Pope Francis and Bartholomew presided a celebration, alternating the liturgy between Greek and Latin.

During the ceremony, Bartholomew addressed Pope Francis, talking about how the Resurrection of Christ redeems all those suffering today.

BARTHOLOMEW
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
"Rest assured – all of you who are crucified in this life – that, just as in the case of Christ, the Resurrection follows the cross.”

The spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Church said that the empty tomb shows that humanity does not control its history, but should submit to the will of God. He also talked about Jesus' command to love each other.

BARTHOLOMEW
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
"Religious fanaticism already threatens peace in many regions of the globe, where the very gift of life is sacrificed on the altar of religious hatred. In the face of such conditions, the message of the life-giving Tomb is urgent and clear: love the other, the different other, the followers of other faiths and other confessions.”

In a show reverence to the Ecumenical Patriach, Pope Francis kissed Bartholomew's hand, before taking the podium. In his remarks, the Pope acknowledged the centuries-old divisions that "continue to exist” among the disciples of Jesus. But he added that they should not frighten them.

POPE FRANCIS
"We need to believe that, just as the stone before the tomb was cast aside, so too every obstacle to our full communion will also be removed.”

The Pope said the work of their predecessors, 50 years ago, showed that it's possible to take steps towards unity. But he added that violence and persecution around the world today also force Christians to come together. 

POPE FRANCIS
"There is born an ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood, which proves particularly powerful not only for those situations in which it occurs, but also, by virtue of the communion of the saints, for the whole Church as well. Those who, in hatred of their faith, kill and persecute Christians, don't ask if they are Orthodox or Catholic. They are Christians, and Christian blood is the same.”

For the first time, the Pope and the Patriarch publicly said the Lord's Prayer together, first in Italian, then in Greek.

The successors to Peter and Andrew then headed down the Holy Sepulchre. They entered the small chapel, where they kissed and prayed before the Tomb of Jesus, each one lighting a candle before stepping out.

Next, the Patriarch led the Pope to Golgotha, an area within the Church under the custody of the Greek Orthodox. They took turns kneeling down and touching the Rock of the Cavalry, the site of the Crucifixion.

As they made their way out, Pope Francis and Bartholomew greeted pilgrims and officials along the way. The two spiritual leaders will meet again on Monday for a private audience at the Garden of Gethsemane. 


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