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Pope meets with leader of India's Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church

September 05, 2013

During a September 5 meeting with the leader of India’s Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church, Pope Francis emphasized the common roots of the Catholic and Syriac traditions.

Greeting Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the Pope said: “The apostolic fraternity which united the first disciples in their service of the Gospel, today also unites our Churches, notwithstanding the many divisions that have arisen in the sometimes sad course of history, divisions which, thanks be to God, we are endeavoring to overcome in obedience to Lord’s will and desire."

The Syro-Malankara Church, which traces its roots to the missionary work of St. Thomas the apostle, split from Rome and eventually became affiliated with the Syriac Orthodox Church. In 1930 a large number of faithful sought to restore ties with the Holy See, and the Syro-Malankara Catholic hierarchy won Vatican recognition. The Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church now claims about 2 million faithful, mostly in India, while there are about 450,000 Syro-Malankara Catholics. At his September 5 meeting with the Indian prelate, Pope Francis traced the history of ecumenical efforts between the Vatican and the Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church in the past 20 years. He noted a series of agreements on shared use of churches and other resources, and welcomed the “overcoming of prejudices and closed attitudes” that has paved the way for further progres.


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