“The Lord told us: the Church will always be persecuted”

Delegation of the Hong Kong Christian Council holds an audience in the Vatican

Vatican Media

Shortly before the general audience, Pope Francis received the delegation of the Hong Kong Christian Council, a group of 26 people, in the audience at the Vatican, to whom he addressed a brief greeting.

Greetings from Pope Francis:

Thank you! Thank you very much for this visit, which is a true consolation: to see all brothers united, Christian brothers and sisters united. A great Orthodox bishop, Zizioulas, who died more or less a year ago, used to say that we would have unity between the Christian Churches only on the day of the final judgment. But, “in the meantime”, he said, “we must pray together and work together”. This is very important: working together, because we all believe in Jesus Christ; praying together, praying for unity.

Another great Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, when he received Pope Paul VI, said this beautiful phrase: “Let us do something: let us put all the theologians on an island, so they can argue amongst themselves, and we can go ahead in peace”. Very nice! The important thing: we have the same Baptism and this makes us Christians. We have many enemies outside. We are friends! Enemies outside; here, friends. It is true when I say enemies, because it is a reality the Lord told us of: the Church will always be persecuted. Martyrdom of the faith has always been in the history of our Churches, always, is it not true? Let us go forward.

Something very beautiful happened when Paul VI went to Uganda. He spoke about Catholic and Anglican martyrs. They are martyrs. And I myself, when those Coptic people were martyred, immediately said that they are also “our” martyrs, they are martyrs for all. There are two baptisms: one, that we all have – the Baptism we have received – and the other, that which the Lord calls “the Baptism of blood”: martyrdom. And we all know what martyrdom is for the many Christians who have given their life for faith.

Thank you, thank you very much! And I would like us all to pray the Lord’s prayer, together.

Recitation of the Lord’s prayer

Thank you very much for your visit.


Holy See Press Office Bulletin, 22 May 2024