On May 23, 2014, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the self-proclaimed “ spiritual leader of over 300 million Orthodox Christian faithful worldwide”, arrived in Israel for his May 25 ecumenical meeting and service with Pope Francis I. Some initial reports, such as the Greek Reporter-Europe, indicated they would “celebrate Mass together at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.” Yet, this seems not to be the case. In the Q & A section of the “Apostolic Pilgrimage” site (the Phanar’s official site for the visit), it states the following:
The Ecumenical Patriarch and the Pope will hold a prayer service at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This will mark the only public event in Jerusalem. However, since there is no Eucharistic communion between the two Churches at this time, the Pope and the Patriarch will not concelebrate any Divine Liturgy. Finally, beyond reciting the Lord’s Prayer, they will offer formal blessings and official statements. In addition, the two leaders will exchange private visitations at respective venues.
Additionally, according to the reports from the Phanar’s website, there will be three meetings between Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis:
There are three planned meetings between the two world religious leaders, following the pattern established in 1964 during the meetings of their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. The first meeting will occur at the Apostolic Delegation in the Old City of Jerusalem, where they will sign a Joint Declaration. The second meeting will be at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where they will lead an ecumenical gathering in a Service of Thanksgiving. The third meeting will take place on the Mount of Olives at the residence of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, where they will seal their pilgrimage and fraternal exchange.
Upon his arrival, Patriarch Bartholomew was greeting by Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem. After the meeting a “Service of Thanksgiving” was celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomew in advance of the meeting with Pope Francis.
The activities and beliefs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, according to a recently released statement on May 24th, by Abp. Demetrios of America (Greek Archdiocese), “will not only enhance the dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, but also extend an invitation to people of all faiths and good will to engage in a dialogue of truth and love.”
As acknowledged by the “Apostolic Pilgrimage” site, the Ecumenical Patriarchate leads “the ecumenical and interfaith dialogues of the Orthodox Church worldwide.” As noted in previous reports, the “two lungs” teaching has come much more to the fore in the World Orthodox. This teaching is considered non-Orthodox and heretical by traditional Orthodox Christians who refuse to countenance the activities and teachings of the Ecumenical Patriarch and his allies, nor have ecclesial communion with them.