Letter of ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew to pope Francis

[…] Behold, with confident  anticipation, we now contemplate our mutual journey to the common cup. We are not ignorant of the existing impediments to the desirable unity of all Christians. Nevertheless, we shall not cease working with all our strength and aspiring to the All-Holy Spirit. According to Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople, “this Spirit is most prudent and extremely loving; if it should discover fishermen, it can lure to Christ the entire world, captivating them by the fishing net of the word,” just as Peter did. Indeed, “it can transform the passion of fanatical persecutors and create a Paul in the place of Saul, captivating them with the same intensity of piety and they had been captivated by evil. Such is the Spirit of meekness.” Today, the same Spirit also renders us “bold heralds” of Christian unity, for whose sake we ceaselessly “bend our knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” For this Spirit “always was, is, and shall be; it is without beginning and without end.” Thus it shall always inspire in us the desire for unity in simplicity and the salvation of all. “Let us, however, stand together and glorify the Trinity together,” Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “through whom alone can we acquire one assembly, one worship, adoration, power, perfection, and sanctification.” This is how the same Spirit “delights in bestowing upon us its divine gifts.”

Wherefore, in celebrating together with Your beloved Holiness, we recite the hymns of our  Orthodox Church in honour of our mutual and glorious patron saints: “Rejoice, blessed and matching counterparts, sharing a single soul in two bodies. Rejoice in the Lord forever, Peter and Paul. We invoke your unceasing prayers for us and implore the fulfilment of your promises to us.” Rejoice and be mindful of us. As you stand directly before the Holy Trinity, entreat for the salvation of us all, so that we may obtain the eternal gifts in Christ Jesus our Lord. To Him be all glory and might, honour and worship, gratitude and thanksgiving, together with His Father, who is without beginning, and His All-Holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Your Holiness’ Beloved brother in Christ,

+ Bartholomew,
Ecumenical Patriarch