Angelus during the Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the historic encounter between Paul VI and Athenagoras I

Author: Pope John Paul II

Angelus: Patriarch's Visit

Pope John Paul II

Intensifying the dialogue

On Sunday, 4 July, before leading the recitation of the Angelus in St Peter's, Square, the Holy Father commented on the recent visit to the Vatican of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the historic encounter between Paul VI and Athenagoras I. The following is a translation of his Reflection, given in Italian.

1. I feel in my heart the most profound gratitude to God for the recent visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew I, to whom, together with his highly qualified entourage, I have had the joy of offering hospitality at the Vatican in these days. Together, we celebrated the feast of the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, commemorating the historic meeting between our venerable Predecessors, Paul VI and Athenagoras I, which took place 40 years ago in Jerusalem.

We also signed a Common Declaration that confirms and reactivates the commitment of Catholics and Orthodox to the service of the great cause of the full communion of Christians.

Proclaim the Gospel of peace

2. Recognizing the positive steps we have taken so far and without forgetting the obstacles that still exist, we reasserted our desire to continue and indeed to intensify the ecumenical dialogue, in both fraternal relations ("dialogue of charity") and the comparison of doctrine ("dialogue of truth").

In this spirit, we were able to confront certain problems and misunderstandings that have recently emerged, offering a concrete sign of how Christians can and must always collaborate, even in the presence of divisions and conflicts. This is an eloquent way of proclaiming the Gospel of peace in a world, which is unfortunately all too often scarred by imbalances and violence.

At our meeting, the realisation also emerged that Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together to ensure that the European Continent does not forget its own Christian roots. Only in this way will Europe be able to carry out her proper role in the dialogue between the civilizations and in the promotion of justice, solidarity and the protection of creation across the world.

3. May God bring to fruition the resolutions formulated at this meeting. Let us entrust thorn to the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
7 July 2004, page 1

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