The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, said there is no authentic ecumenical dialogue without being ready “for an interior renewal” and the quest for a greater fidelity to Christ and his wishes. He referred specifically to his upcoming meeting with Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians and head of the second largest Christian denomination after Roman Catholicism.
His remarks came in an address at the Vatican to delegates taking part in an ecumenical pilgrimage, promoted by the Orientale Lumen Foundation and led by the Orthodox Metropolitan, Kallistos of Diokleia.
The Pope said this journey towards an interior renewal is “absolutely essential” in order to make progress along the road leading to reconciliation and full communion between all believers in Christ.
The Foundation’s ecumenical pilgrimage had chosen to commemorate Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, two Popes who made great contributions towards developing closer relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
“The example of these two saints,” Pope Francis said, “always bore witness to a strong passion for Christian unity.”
Referring to his upcoming meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew during his visit to Turkey at the end of November, Pope Francis said it was “a sign of the profound ties uniting the Sees of Rome and Constantinople” and the desire “to overcome, through love and truth, the obstacles that still divide us.”