Pope Francis: The full union of Christians is “urgent and necessary”

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Pope Francis met with the members of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. This commission has just celebrated its 20 year anniversary.

POPE FRANCIS
May this anniversary be an occasion to praise God for the road completed, remembering with gratitude all those who have contributed through their theological competence and prayer, and may it also renew the conviction that the full communion of our churches is not only possible, but urgent and necessary for the world to believe.

Over the past year, the Pope has had several meetings with Orthodox leaders. One of the most memorable was the visit of Tawadros II of the Coptic Church, with whom he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the meeting between their predecessors.

POPE FRANCIS
His Holiness Tawadros came to see me for the first time on May 10th ten years ago, a few months after his and my election, and proposed to celebrate every May 10th as the Coptic-Catholic Friendship Day, which we have been celebrating every year since that time. We call each other on the phone, send greetings and remain good brothers. We have not quarreled.

Also visiting the Pope in 2023 was the leaders of the Indian Orthodox Church

…and the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. Many of them are expected to participate in the 2025 gathering that will commemorate the 1,700th anniversary of the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicaea.

JRB
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