In the Wake of Ecumenical Patriarch's Visit

“Catholics and Orthodox Are Called to Work Together,” Says Pope

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2004 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before praying the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. I am profoundly grateful to God for the recent visit of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew I, whom in the past days I had the joy of having as my guest on the Vatican, together with his qualified entourage. We celebrated together the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, commemorating the historic meeting between our venerable predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras I, which occurred 40 years ago in Jerusalem.

In addition, we signed a joint declaration, which confirms and relaunches the commitment of Catholics and Orthodox in the service of the great cause of full communion of Christians.

2. Acknowledging the positive steps taken until now and without forgetting the obstacles that still exist, we reaffirmed the resolve to continue, more than that, to intensify ecumenical dialogue, whether on the level of fraternal relations (“dialogue of charity”) or on that of doctrinal comparison (“dialogue of truth”).

With this spirit we were able to address some problems and misunderstandings that arose recently, offering a concrete sign of how Christians can and must always collaborate, even when there are divisions and conflicts. It is an eloquent way of proclaiming the Gospel of peace in a world characterized unfortunately by imbalances and violence.

Moreover, in the course of the meeting there was the realization that Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together so that the European continent will not forget its own Christian roots. Only in this way will Europe be able to play its full role in the dialogue between civilizations and in the global promotion of justice, solidarity and the safeguarding of creation.

3. May God bring to fulfillment the objectives formulated in this meeting. We entrust them to the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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