Bartholomew: Rome and Constantionple “Sister Churches”
According to the March 13, 2013 interview that Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew gave to the Roman Catholic news organization ‘Zenit’:
Look, your question about how close we are to the unity of the Church and, in particular, of enabling the Christian Church (Western and Eastern, Orthodox and Roman Catholic) to breathe with two lungs, is important. There is no doubt that our two “sister Churches” are closer today in relation to the whole of the last millennium, thanks to the “dialogue of love” and the “dialogue of truth,” that is to say, the steps taken towards reconciliation and the process of the theological dialogue, which has been well underway in the last decades.
Patriarch Bartholomew then lauded the opportunity to take part in installing a Papist cardinal and in the upcoming celebration of 50th anniversary of the meeting of Paul VI and Athenagoras in Jerusalem, saying:
When we were invited to attend the Mass of inauguration of the newly elected Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square – the first time in history in which the Patriarch of Constantinople took part in the installation of a Cardinal of Rome – we invited His Holiness to visit us in the Phanar (the See of representation at Istanbul in Turkey of the Patriarch of Constantinople ndr) but also to organize a unitary visit to Jerusalem. This invitation became an informal custom at the time of Paul VI followed also successively with the election of John Paul II and kept also after the election of Pope Benedict XVI. However, the last of our proposals that will be realized – God willing – in a few months, is that of celebrating the historic meeting of the last Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI on the Mount of Olives in January of 1964, the first time in which the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of the New Rome met face to face since the so-called “Great Schism” of 1054. That event led in 1965 to a “mutual lifting of reciprocal anathemas” and was reinforced in 1969 by annual formal visits of respective delegations, which in 1979 also led to the creation of an international commission for religious dialogue between our two Churches. It is our earnest hope and fervent prayer that the meeting with Pope Francis will reinforce the close relation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
Originally Bartholomew had planned his upcoming ‘ecumenical council for 2015, which would have co-incided with the false lifting of the anathemas against Roman Catholicism, but, had to push the date back to 2016.