Last year, on his unprecedented visit to Rome for the inaugural Mass of the newly-elected Pope, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew invited Pope Francis to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in order to commemorate and celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting in Jerusalem between their predecessors, Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI in 1964.
On February 18, 2014, the Holy and Sacred Synod discussed the forthcoming meeting in May, already formally announced by the Vatican, between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis. The meeting will affirm the fraternal relations between the two "sister churches" and promote the cause of unity and reconciliation among the Christian Churches as well as nonviolence and peace throughout the world, especially in the Middle East.
Statement by His All-Holiness on the meeting in Jerusalem with Pope Francis
“With expectant joy and an abiding sense of fraternity, we look forward, later this year in the Holy City of Jerusalem, to our commemorative encounter with our beloved brother in Christ, His Holiness Pope Francis. This fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting between the late Pope Paul VI and our ever-memorable predecessor Patriarch Athenagoras is an exceptional opportunity to deepen the fraternal bonds between Peter and Andrew, for both our Sees owe their foundations to them. For this reason, following in the footsteps of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, we express our desire to further the relations between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. Two thousand years ago, it was in Jerusalem where the Light dawned from the Tomb. May it be in Jerusalem again where the light of peace, mutual trust, and brotherly love shines brightly, for the sake of our two Churches and the sake of the whole world.”
At the Phanar, February 18, 2014