In Search of Unity

Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople deliver blessing in Istanbul.

In Istanbul on Nov. 30, Pope Francis stated unequivocally that “full communion” was his goal with the 300-million-member Orthodox churches. He added that the only condition for achieving that unity is “the shared profession of faith.” Significantly, seeking to overcome suspicion and fears, he re-assured the Orthodox that such unity does not in any way mean “the submission of one to the other, or assimilation.” The pope spoke at the end of the solemn Orthodox eucharistic celebration for the feast of St. Andrew in the 300-year-old church of Saint George in the Fanar, Istanbul. “The one thing that the Catholic Church desires, and that I seek as bishop of Rome, ‘the church which presides in charity,’ is communion with the Orthodox churches,” he told the assembly in his homily. He assured Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Orthodox churches that “to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith.”

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