Pope's Address to a Delegation of the Orientale Lumen Foundation of America

«Every Christian pilgrimage is not only a geographic itinerary, but above all the occasion for a journey of interior renewal, to go increasingly to Christ the Lord»

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Here is a translation of Pope Francis’ address to a delegation of members of the Orientale Lumen Foundation of America, taking part in an ecumenical pilgrimage, led by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia. The Holy Father received the delegation in the Vatican this morning:

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Dear Brothers in Christ, 

I greet affectionately all the participants in the ecumenical pilgrimage promoted by the Orientale Lumen Foundation and led by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, which these days is stopping here at Rome. Thank you for your presence.

Every Christian pilgrimage is not only a geographic itinerary, but above all the occasion for a journey of interior renewal, to go increasingly to Christ the Lord, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). These dimensions are essential to proceed along the way that leads to reconciliation and full communion between believers in Christ.

There is no real ecumenical dialogue without a disposition for interior renewal and the search for greater fidelity to Christ and to His will.

I am happy to learn that in your pilgrimage you chose to remember Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, who were canonized last April. This choice stresses their great contribution to the development of increasingly closer relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches. The example of these two Saints is certainly illuminating for all of us, because they always gave witness of an ardent passion for the unity of Christians, flowing from docile listening to the will of the Lord who, in the Last Supper, prayed to the Father that His disciples “may all be one” (John 17:21).

Among the many things that could be mentioned are … that at this moment, I wish to recall only that Saint John XXIII, at the time, announced the convocation of Vatican Council II. He pointed out, in fact, among the ends, Christian unity, and that John Paul II gave a notable impulse to the ecumenical commitment of the Catholic Church with his Encyclical Letter “Ut Unum Sint.” Dear brothers, during your pilgrimage to Rome, I would like to ask you to pray also for me, so that, with the intercession of these two Saints, my predecessors, I will be able to carry out my ministry of Bishop of Rome at the service of the communion and unity of the Church, following the Lord’s will in everything.

In the forthcoming days, your pilgrimage will halt at Fanar, where you will meet the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew I. I ask you to transmit my cordial and fraternal greetings to him, together with the assurance of my affection and esteem. As you know, I am also preparing to make a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch this coming November, on the feast of the Apostle Saint Andrew, in response to the kind invitation of His Holiness Bartholomew I. The visit of the Bishop of Rome to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the new meeting between Patriarch Bartholomew and my person will be signs of the profound bond that unites the Sees of Rome and Constantinople and the desire to overcome, in love and in truth, the obstacles that still separate us.

Wishing you a good continuation of your pilgrimage, with abundant spiritual gifts, I ask you to pray for me and from my heart, I impart my blessing to you!

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
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