__Yπεύθυνος σελίδας: Παναγιώτης Αντ. Ανδριόπουλος



Your Holiness, 
It is a great honour and a special privilege for us to stand before You at this moment in order to bring to You and the venerable Church of Rome, the Church which “presides in love”, according to St. Ignatius of Antioch, the fraternal love and good wishes of the Church of Constantinople and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the feast of the Patron Saints of Your Church and our common Saints, the great Apostles Peter and Paul. 
We have come again this year, following the blessed custom established by our two Churches after the restoration of their fraternal relations in faithfulness to the spirit of reconciliation demanded from us by our common Lord. This custom is much more than a mere formality ; it expresses the commitment of our Churches to continue following the difficult but blessed path towards the restoration of our full communion at the Eucharistic Table, the communion that we enjoyed during the first millennium of the Church’s history. 
This time, we have come with our hearts filled with joy and gratitude to our Lord, as we still live with the memory of the great event of the recent encounter of Your Holiness with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the Holy City of Jerusalem to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting which took place there between the two great and courageous leaders of our Churches, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, both of blessed memory, a meeting that marked the end of a long period of distance and estrangement between our two Churches and the beginning of the present state of our fraternal relations.
This fraternal encounter of Your Holiness with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the place where our Lord lived, taught, suffered the Cross and rose from the dead ; the prayers offered before the sacred Tomb of our Lord ; and the common declaration signed by Your Holiness and our Patriarch - all this sent a strong message of love and peace to the world at a time when so much conflict and suffering prevail, particularly in the region of the Holy Land and the Middle East. 
Equally, the invitation issued by Your Holiness to the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to come to Rome at the beginning of this month in order to pray with You for peace in their region - an event in which our Patriarch also participated at the gracious invitation of Your Holiness - has left a deep impression in the hearts of all peace-loving people throughout the world. 
We give glory to God for these historic events, and we express gratitude to Your Holiness for all that you have done to bring them about. 
Your Holiness, 
We all know that our message of peace and reconciliation to the world can be credible only if it is first applied to ourselves, i.e., to the Church. It is for this reason that we continue with full commitment our efforts to promote the theological dialogue between our two Churches, which continues in a spirit of love, mutual trust and respect. The Mixed International Commission of the dialogue is scheduled to meet in plenary next September to continue the discussion of the subject of primacy in the Church. It is a difficult subject but, with the grace of God, we hope to make progress. The way that Your Holiness understands and applies ecclesial primacy offers inspiration and hope in our efforts to reach agreement on this thorny issue. 

Your Holiness,
As we celebrate the feast of the two great Apostles of our Lord, the words of St. Paul to the Philippians come to mind : 
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind and having the same love, with one mind and a common care for unity. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Ch. 2,2-4). 
Your Holiness, 
Today, more so than ever before, there is an urgent need to “be of the same mind and have the same love, with one mind and a common care for unity”. In the spirit of this apostolic admonition, and in earnest hopefulness at the prospect of Your visit to Constantinople next November for the Thronal Feast of our Church, we have the honour of presenting to You the personal letter of His All-Holiness, extending once again the fraternal love and good wishes of the Church of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the solemn occasion of Your Patronal Feast. 
May our Lord, through the intercessions of the holy Apostles whose memory we keep today, protect His Church together with all His creation, leading us to the fulfillment of His will “that we all may be one” (John 17,21) for the glory of His most holy name. Amen.

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