VATICAN CITY (CNS) — At the end of Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis and Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos walked down the stairs under the main altar in St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed together at the apostle’s tomb.
The archbishop was representing Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at the pope’s celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, who were martyred in Rome and are the patron saints of the Roman church.
Greeting the archbishop in his homily June 29, Pope Francis told him, “Your presence reminds us that we can spare no effort in the journey toward full unity among believers, in communion at every level. For together, reconciled to God and having forgiven one another, we are called to bear witness to Jesus by our lives.”
Meeting members of the Orthodox delegation June 28, the pope said Sts. Peter and Paul are exemplars of “the apostolic courage of proclamation, which also entails a commitment to respond to the new challenges of the present time.”
Patriarch Bartholomew and his longstanding theological and pastoral concern about climate change is one example of that, the pope said, and “has been a source of inspiration for me.”
Another sign of Gospel courage, he said, is seen in Catholic-Orthodox cooperation in combating human trafficking, assisting migrants and refugees and working for peace.
Mentioning his recent meetings with Orthodox leaders in Romania and in Bulgaria, Pope Francis told the delegation, “I am increasingly convinced that the restoration of full unity between Catholics and Orthodox will come about through respect for specific identities and a harmonious coexistence in legitimate forms of diversity.”
“As bishop of Rome,” he said, “I wish to reaffirm that, for us Catholics, the purpose of dialogue is full communion in legitimate forms of diversity, not a monotonous leveling, much less absorption.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103