Pope meets Patriach – ‘Apostles Peter and Andrew’ reunited in Jerusalem

May 26, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Pope Francis and the PatriarchJerusalem, 26 May, 2014: Half a century after an historic encounter between their predecessors, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met in the same place to seek inspiration for Christian unity, reports the Catholic News Service.

‘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 yesterday during a prayer service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

‘Every time we put behind us our longstanding prejudices and find the courage to build new fraternal relationships, we confess that Christ is truly risen,’ the Pope said, his voice hoarse and expression fatigued after two full days of public appearances in the Holy Land.

The Pope also spoke of an ‘ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood,’ which brings Christians closer through the common experience of persecution. When others kill Christians, he noted, they do not ask if they are Catholic or Orthodox.

Patriarch Bartholomew said Jesus’ tomb sends the message that ‘history cannot be programmed; that the ultimate word in history does not belong to man, but to God. In vain did the guards of secular power watch over this tomb. In vain did they place a very large stone against the door of the tomb, so that none could roll it away.’

The patriarch said the tomb also encourages Christians to ‘love the other, the different other, the followers of other faiths and other confessions.’

Their prayer service marked the 50th anniversary of an encounter in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople. The earlier meeting, which led both churches to lift the mutual excommunications that started the East-West schism in 1054, opened the modern period of ecumenical dialogue.

– cns

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