A delegation from the patriarchate of Constantinople in visit to Rome

Source: FSSPX News


On the occasion of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, on June 29, an ecumenical delegation of the patriarchate of Constantinople paid its annual visit to Rome. The Holy See will be sending representatives to Constantinople for the feast of St. Andrew, on November 30.

On June 30, Benedict XVI gave an audience to Mgr. Ioannis, metropolitan of Pergamum and head of the delegation, Mgr. Gennadios, metropolitan of Sassima, as well as archimandrite Bartholomew, undersecretary of the Holy Synod of the ecumenical patriarchate. Recalling “the need to join forces and to spare no efforts, to resume with new vigor the official theological dialogue that was initiated in 1980 between the Catholic Church and all the Orthodox Churches,” the pope was keen to express his “sentiments of gratitude” to Bartholomew I who “is doing his best to reactivate the work of the Joint International Catholic-Orthodox Commission.”

“I would like to assure him that I am firmly determined to support and encourage this action,” he continued, asking members of the delegation “to tell” Bartholomew I of his “resolution” to “persevere with firm determination in the search for full unity among all Christians.” “Let us continue together on the path of communion and together take new steps and make new gestures that lead to overcoming the remaining misunderstandings and divisions.”

“Theological research, which must address complex questions and identify solutions that are not reductive, is a grave commitment that we cannot evade,” insisted the pope. “The unity that we seek is neither absorption nor fusion but respect for the multiform fullness of the Church, which must always be, in conformity with the desire of her Founder, Jesus Christ, one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”

Since the last meeting in Baltimore, U.S.A, in 2000, the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches “has not been broken off, but has slowed down”, says the Vatican. “For several years, the two parties have been in the process of preparation for re-launching dialogue.” But “we depend on the response of all the Orthodox Churches.” The Holy See is waiting to hear what they will communicate to us. The Orthodox Churches must first of all “agree among themselves.”

Discussions of the Theological Commission scheduled for September 13 in Istanbul will be concerned with ecclesiology. The subject is “broader than the mere Petrine dossier,” the Vatican explained. Study of the ecclesiological structure leads inevitably to the study of “those of collegiality, unity and synodality.” “The structures of the first and second millennia must be studied, as well as the needs of the Church for the third millennium”. This leads to the “study of the legitimate autonomy of the Churches, the unity and the visibility of this unity,” and “the role appropriate to the patriarchs and the bishop of Rome.” It is about establishing “a balance between primacy and collegiality, between unity and diversity, between the local Churches and Rome.”