Pope to Bartholomew: May Peter and Andrew intercede for peace among all peoples
Message to Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the feast of Saint Andrew
On this feast of the Apostle Andrew, let us fervently pray to God, our merciful Father, that the clash of arms, which brings only death and destruction, may cease, and that governmental and religious leaders may always seek the path of dialogue and reconciliation,” writes Pope Francis in his message addressed to His Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, on the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew.
In his message, the Holy Father recalls “the deep bonds of faith, hope and charity that unite the sister Churches of Rome and Constantinople”, and at the same time, sends his greetings to all those who gathered in the Patriarchal Church of St. George for the feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew, brother of St. Peter and Protokletos, heavenly patron and protector of the Church of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The meeting between Paul VI and Athenagoras
The Pontiff also recalls that today’s feast precedes the commemoration of a truly historic event: the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in January 1964. This meeting, the Pope points out, was a fundamental step in breaking down the barrier of misunderstanding, mistrust and even hostility that had existed for almost a millennium.
“It is good to note that today we remember not so much the words and statements of those prophetic Pastors, but above all their warm embrace. In fact, it is very significant that this journey of reconciliation, of growing closeness and overcoming the obstacles that still prevent full and visible communion, began with an embrace, a gesture that eloquently expresses the mutual recognition of ecclesial fraternity”.
The road to full communion
In this sense, the Bishop of Rome points out that the example of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras shows us that all authentic paths towards the restoration of full communion among the Lord’s disciples are characterised by personal contact and shared time.
“Moreover, through friendly dialogue, common prayer and joint action in the service of humanity, especially those affected by poverty, violence and exploitation, the members of the different Churches discover ever more deeply their shared trust in the loving providence of God the Father, their hope in the coming of the Kingdom inaugurated by Jesus Christ and their common desire to exercise the virtue of charity inspired by the Holy Spirit”.
The embrace between Francis and Bartholomew
On this journey towards full unity, Pope Francis recalls with joy the various meetings he had with Patriarch Bartholomew, especially his recent meeting in Rome on the occasion of the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil, which was held on the eve of the opening of the XVI General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme: “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”.
“Your personal support and that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, expressed also through the participation of a fraternal delegate in the work of the Assembly, are a great source of encouragement for the fruitful continuation of the synodal process underway in the Catholic Church”.
Ecumenical prayer for peace
Finally, the Holy Father invites us, on this feast of the Apostle Andrew, to pray fervently to God, our merciful Father, that the clash of arms, which brings only death and destruction, may cease, and that governmental and religious leaders may always seek the path of dialogue and reconciliation.
“May the holy apostles Peter and Andrew intercede for all peoples and implore for them the gifts of fraternal communion and peace”.