In response to numerous requests for information and clarification on the announcement of an Ecumenical Council in the year 2025, and after consultation with Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, director the Holy See Press Office, I offer the following response.
AsiaNews published on Thursday, May 29, 2014 that the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said that he and Pope Francis, during their meeting in Jerusalem on May 25, agreed in principle on calling for “a gathering” in 2025 in Nicea to commemorate the first Ecumenical Council, held in Nicea in 325 A.D. Several news agencies, publications and individuals have reported on this gathering as a fait accompli.
It is important to recall that no formal announcement of or convocation of this event has come from the Vatican. It is very early to jump to conclusions that such an Ecumenical Council involving bishops from both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches would take place.
What is evident is that the first idea or proposal of such a Council by Patriarch Bartholomew is a very beautiful and significant, joint commemoration of the first ecumenical council held in Nicea in 325 AD. We must not forget that the idea of the recent meeting in Jerusalem commemorating the historic encounter and embrace of in Jerusalem 50 years ago came from Patriarch Bartholomew shortly after the inauguration celebration of Pope Francis’ Petrine Ministry in March 2013.
Nor can we forget that we are still eleven years away from the proposed council for 2025. Let us hope and pray that during this time, many more positive steps will be made along the ecumenical journey as the idea of such a proposed ecumenical council matures and God willing, becomes a reality.