Letter of ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew to pope Francis

This spirit of simplicity must surely also characterize relations among Churches and Christians, who for reasons known to the Lord are divided today into different Christian churches and confessions. It is our personal hope that the ongoing dialogues among the various Churches – and especially the dialogue between our two great Churches of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, a dialogue of love, theology and truth – will continue to bear fruit in a spirit of simplicity and  fraternity, of mutual understanding and truthfulness, in order to bring about the desired result of rapprochement through the unique authenticity in Christ, which alone is ultimately able to unite – and will unite – all Christians.

Your Holiness, our faith is not a compilation of diverse opinions promulgated to integrate discussion in a harmonious way; it is the revelation of the singular truth expressed through and in the divine person of Jesus Christ, in order that the final goal for all those in dialogue should be to approach, touch, comprehend and experience His divine person, who recapitulates the truth manifested to those that are with Him in the Holy Spirit.

The Patronal Feast of a Church – today of Your Church in Rome and next November of our Church in Constantinople, when we commemorate the holy Apostle Andrew, first-called among the apostles – constitutes a highlight and milestone in its spiritual journey. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and envisage the future. Events and occurrences in the past must be duly assessed and accordingly categorized into those that are proper and to be promoted, or else into those that are improper and to be shunned.

Would that every new period of such celebration be filled with those initiatives and activities on the part of Your venerable Holiness and Your historical Church, which should be emulated, praised and advanced. In this way, we shall be enabled to approach the truth in Christ properly as brothers, sharing and sojourning with Him “into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” so that “our faith may be tested by fire and found to result in praise, honour and glory” (1Peter 1.7). “For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish . . . instead honouring everyone, loving the family of believers, and fearing God.” (1 Peter 2.15 and 17).