Head of Phanar in Athos persuades monks to unite with Catholics
The Patriarch of Constantinople believes that only historical differences rather than dogmas separate Orthodoxy and Catholicism, hence their unity is inevitable.
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople stated that there are only historical rather than dogmatic controversies between Orthodox Christians and Catholics. He said this during his last visit to the Holy Mount Athos.
In particular, according to the UOJ sources, during a visit to the Greek monastery Pantokrator, Patriarch Bartholomew, in the presence of the brethren and guests of the monastery, claimed that the unity of the Orthodox Church with Roman Catholics was inevitable.
In his opinion, the division that now exists between the Orthodox and Catholics has historical roots but is not in the field of dogma.
Patriarch Bartholomew is convinced that Catholics are “exactly the same Christians as we are”. He also emphasized that Pope Francis's gift of holy relics of St. Peter the Apostle is a testimony of good graces of the Catholic Church in relation to the Orthodox Church.
The UOJ sources said that during the speech of Patriarch Bartholomew, Archimandrite Gabriel, Abbot of Pantokrator monastery, Archimandrite Alexy, Abbot of Xenophontos monastery, Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of Vatopedi monastery, brothers of several monasteries and guests were present. Most of the brethren of monasteries after such words of the head of Phanar were perplexed, but none of those present protested to Patriarch Bartholomew. In addition, some monks, after the words of the head of Phanar that unity with the Catholics is inevitable, cried.
According to the eyewitnesses, numerous patriarchal guards did not allow anyone from the brethren to record the speech of Patriarch Bartholomew.
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that in Belgium, Patriarch Bartholomew and Abbot of Xenophontos prayed jointly with Catholics.