Phanar head: Path to unity is central theme of our relationship with Pope

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: vaticannews.va

Patriarch Bartholomew noted that he had never been a supporter of the "introversion" of Orthodoxy.

The issue of the path to Christian unity and the progress of theological dialogue is central to the relationship between Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The head of the Phanar spoke about this in an interview with the Italian resource “Avvenire”.

Noting that he had “never been a supporter of the introversion of Orthodoxy” and all his life believed that the issue of promoting Christian unity was of central importance, Patriarch Bartholomew emphasized that he has “many common interests” with Pope Francis.

“We met about ten times. We have many common interests, sensitivities and common intentions on social issues, such as the protection of our fellow men who are in need, the poor, refugees, the promotion of peace and reconciliation, interreligious dialogue, the protection of creation. Of course, the question of the path to unity and the progress of theological dialogue remains of central importance in our relations,” said Patriarch Bartholomew, commenting on his relationship with the head of the Catholics.

He explained that there is mutual trust and a common desire between him and Pope Francis “to accelerate the path towards the desired unity, personal meetings, common declarations, are all precious contributions to the wider development of relations between our Churches".

Earlier, Patriarch Bartholomew said that the Vatican and the Orthodox Church will unite, despite the objections of those who consider ecumenism a utopia.

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