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Bartholomew: search for unity between Orthodox and Catholics "a duty"

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=13903&size=A 12/02/2008 14:19 TURKEY Bartholomew: search for unity between Orthodox and Catholics a duty by NAT da
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2008
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      12/02/2008 14:19
      Bartholomew: search for unity between Orthodox and Catholics "a duty"
      by NAT da Polis
      On the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew, founder of the Church of
      Constantinople, the patriarch and Cardinal Kasper reaffirm that the
      ecumenical journey is a road without alternatives.

      Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The homilies for the services and celebrations
      for the patron of Constantinople, St. Andrew, were centered on the
      certainty that the common journey toward full unity between the two
      sister Churches - Catholic and Orthodox - is the only answer,
      including to the challenges of today's world in full economic,
      political, and social crisis.

      The celebrations were attended by a large delegation from the Church
      of Rome, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the council for
      Christian unity, representatives of the other Christian confessions,
      the diplomatic corps, and various authorities.

      Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew began his homily by recalling the
      historic meeting in Jerusalem in 1964, between Paul VI and
      Athenagoras, which put an end to the historic and distasteful schism
      of 1054 between the two sister Churches, initiating a dialogue of
      love and truth in full and mutual respect, with the objective of
      reestablishing full communion. And precisely in order to highlight
      this journey toward full communion, Bartholomew gave the example of
      the two brothers "in the flesh," Andrew and Peter, who later became
      spiritual brothers in Christ, to emphasize the role that the two
      sister Churches must play. Although the two brothers Peter and Andrew
      followed different geographical paths to testify to the truth of
      Christ our Lord - the former sanctified the Church of Rome with his
      own blood, while the latter founded the Church of Byzantium, which
      later became Constantinople - they have remained united in the course
      of history through the two Churches: Rome and Constantinople.

      This connection between the two apostles, Bartholomew continued, the
      beginning of which was biological in nature, later became a spiritual
      bond in the name of our Lord, and ended up constituting the bond that
      unites the Churches. And this bond must always be kept in mind,
      continued the ecumenical patriarch, in order to restore full unity.
      Because today, by honoring the apostle Andrew, one also honors the
      apostle Peter - it is not possible to think of Peter and Andrew
      separately. The thorns must therefore be removed which for a
      millennium have wounded relations between the two Churches, and
      guidance toward unity must be taken from the spirit of the common
      tradition of the seven ecumenical councils of the first millennium.
      And all of this is not only out of respect for our two apostles,
      Bartholomew concluded, but also because it is our duty toward the
      contemporary world, which is going through a tremendous
      sociopolitical, cultural, and economic crisis. A world that has
      urgent need of the message of peace, of which the founder of our
      Church, Jesus Christ, is the messenger, through his cross and
      resurrection. Only then will the word of our Church be credible, when
      it can also give a message of peace and love: "Come and see" (John 1:47).

      Cardinal Kasper, as the pope's representative, also focused in his
      homily on the importance of dialogue for full unity between the
      Churches, saying that the same feast is celebrated today in Rome, a
      sign of our common apostolic heritage, which requires us to work for
      full communion. Because this ecumenical commitment is not an option,
      but a duty toward our Lord, in order to be able to consider ourselves
      an essential part of the Church of Christ, our Lord.

      Kasper then cited the three visits of the ecumenical patriarch to
      Rome in 2008, which included his participation, together with Pope
      Benedict, in the inauguration of the Pauline year, and his address to
      the synod of Catholic bishops, also at the invitation of the pope.
      This reinforced the bonds between Rome and Constantinople. He
      concluded by speaking of the importance of the document of Ravenna
      (2007) in the dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox.

      Finally, in a conversation with AsiaNews, Cardinal Kasper maintained
      that the journey with the Orthodox, although it will certainly not be
      short, has started on the right path, "in part because we have many,
      many things in common with the Orthodox." Moreover, Kasper continued,
      the fact that Constantinople has a very broad vision helps a great
      deal in the journey of dialogue toward full communion.

      (Photo by Nikos Manginas)
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