Joint Declaration by Bartholomew and Francis

May 25, 2014 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis I issued a Joint Declaration immediately before their common prayer service in Jerusalem. The Joint Declaration can be found here. The homily given by Bartholomew and the speech by Francis have been posted as well.

Although the join statement says that the two sides are not in “full communion”, there is mutual recognition between the Phanar and Rome expressed. The Join Statement claims that both the Phanar and Rome teach the “same Gospel of Christ”:

Over these years, God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us to regard one another as members of the same Christian family, under one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to love one another, so that we may confess our faith in the same Gospel of Christ, as received by the Apostles and expressed and transmitted to us by the Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers.

As the Phanr often does, it confuses some subjects. It is connecting the obligation and commandment we are given to love our enemies, with this meaning we must recognize others as ‘the same Christian family’ and having the ‘same Gospel of Christ’. But, this is not so.  We are commanded to love others, but, this does not imply they have the same Gospel. Indeed, the Vatican does not teach the same Gospel as the Orthodox Church; the Vatican, in fact, proclaims heresies. If the Phanar confesses itself to be Orthodox, how can they confess the Vatican, which teaches papal infallibility and supremacy, filioquism, and its other heresies, to have the ‘same Gospel of Christ’, or for that matter, to be under the ‘one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ’?

Both the Phanar and Rome, additionally state, that they are on a ‘journey towards full communion’.  Indeed, Cardinal Koch,  the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has already hinted at their being some additional major milestone at the 2016 Council that the Phanar will hold. It seems that far from ecumenism wading into the background, it is re-vamping up.