The pope has met with representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. They are bishops and metropolitans who are part of a commission for the theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox.
After the initial greeting, they gave the Pope an icon that he liked very much.
'Thank you also for this beautiful icon, so significant, of the blood of Christ that reveals to us the Redemption from the fruit of the bosom of Mary!'
The Pope reminded them that, despite the differences between rites and confessions, there is something that unites all Christians.
'As Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, we can repeat the words of the Apostle Paul: 'For in one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body.'
Many of these bishops and metropolitans come from countries where Christian communities are discriminated against or persecuted. For this reason, the Pope has once again alluded to Christian martyrs, both Catholic and Orthodox, and lamented that 'fundamentalist extremism' puts these Christians to the test on a daily basis.
He also denounced that in these countries, many foreign interests have 'led to situations of dire need, cultural and spiritual deserts where it becomes easy to manipulate and incite people to hatred.â?
That is why he has called on these Christian communities to never stop sowing peace and hope in the midst of violence.