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Catholic World News

Orthodox patriarch, Vatican cardinal agree that ecumenism is a duty

December 02, 2008

At an ecumenical celebration for the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of Constantinople, Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I devoted his homily to ecumenical affairs, noting that St. Andrew and St. Peter were brothers "in the flesh" whose bonds grew even deeper as they became brothers in Christ. The Ecumenical Patriarch remarked that Rome and Constantinople have grown steadily closer since the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964. He said that both parties are fully committed to the path of ecumenism-- to pursue it until restoring full communion.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, attended the celebration as the Pope's representative, and preached at the same service. Underlining the Patriarch's message, Cardinal Kasper said that ecumenical work is not an option but a requirement for Christian leaders, because it is the Lord's command.


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