The pope firmly stressed that the unity of Christians is an essential requirement of faith and is one of his main concerns. He said this to the participants of the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Pope Francis said Christian unity does not encourage a "reverse ecumenism," meaning it is unnecessary to deny one's own "history of faith." That is why he stressed the importance of each of the ecumenical meetings he has held this year.
"Throughout this year I have had the opportunity to experience many meaningful ecumenical meetings, both here in Rome and on the road. Each of these meetings has been a source of consolation for me, because I could see that the desire for communion is alive and intense."
One of the most significant encounters was the historic meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow in February. The representatives of these two Churches had never before met.
In Georgia, the pope also met with the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, who is reserved about dialogue with the Vatican. The Anglican archbishop of Canterbury also paid him a cordial visit at the Holy See.
Most recently, the pope visited Sweden to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and the 50-year re-establishment of dialogue with Catholics.