In this year’s letter, Pope Francis wrote that Christians are called to work toward the restoration of unity “not merely through signed agreements but through fidelity to the Father’s will and discernment of the promptings of the Spirit.”
“Much attention has rightly been placed on the historical and theological reasons at the origin of our divisions. This shared study must continue and develop in a spirit that is neither polemical nor apologetic but marked instead by authentic dialogue and mutual openness,” Pope Francis said.
“We must likewise acknowledge that divisions are the result of sinful actions and attitudes which impede the work of the Holy Spirit, who guides the faithful into unity in legitimate diversity. It follows that only growth in holiness of life can lead to genuine and lasting unity.”
Patriarch Bartholomew expressed support earlier this month for finding a common date for Easter, a move that would lead to Catholics and Orthodox celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at the same time.
The patriarch said that conversations are underway between Church representatives to come to an agreement. According to an earlier report by Vatican News, the patriarch supports such a common date to be set for the year 2025, which will mark the 1,700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea.
The Holy See press office reported on Nov. 30 that a Vatican delegation traveled to Istanbul for a customary visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the feast of St. Andrew.
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