VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II told a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople that the followers of Christ in Europe must give new life to the spiritual roots of the continent.
The Pope received the delegation during its traditional visit for the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. For its part, the Holy See sends a delegation to the Orthodox patriarchate on Nov. 30, feast of its patron, St. Andrew.
The Holy Father expressed his gratitude to Patriarch Bartholomew I, considered “first among equals” in the Orthodox world, for his good wishes for the 25th year of his pontificate.
“Your presence is a sign of our common love for Christ and an act of ecclesial fraternity, with which we reaffirm the legacy of love and unity that the Lord left to his Church, built on the apostles,” the Pope told the delegation on Saturday.
“The rapid changes of today’s world call all Christians to demonstrate how the Gospel of Jesus Christ illuminates the critical issues which the human family is facing,” he said.
Among those issues, he said, are the urgent need to promote interreligious dialogue, the protection of creation, and the new challenges posed by the advances of science and technology.
Also, the consolidation of European unity and identity is a topic that calls Christians, as witness of the mercy of God, “to play a specific role in the current process of integration and reconciliation,” the Pope said, as reported by the Vatican Information Service.
“While we attempt to go forward in the dialogue of truth and the dialogue of charity, let us not be discouraged by the difficulties we encounter,” John Paul II said. “There is always a way if we are determined to do the will of God for the unity of his disciples.”