Catholic World News
November 30, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI sent his greetings to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople on November 30, as the Ecumenical Patriarch celebrated the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of Constantinople. In a message to the Orthodox leader, the Pope spoke of the "urgency" of pursuing Christian unity, saying that the Christian world must speak with one voice in response to today's challenges.
The Pope acknowledged the progress toward ecumenical accord, noting that he and the Orthodox leader have regularly exchanged visits and messages of friendship. He thanked Bartholomew for regularly sending delegations to Rome for the patronal feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and noted that Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, was leading a Vatican delegation to this year's celebration in Istanbul.
The continued drive toward Christian unity, the Pope insisted, "should not be hindered by those who remain bound to the remembrance of historical differences, which impedes their openness to the Holy Spirit who guides the Church and is able to transform all human failings into opportunities for good." He pointed to the work that Christians should do together "especially in defending the dignity of the human person, in affirming fundamental ethical values, in promoting justice and peace, and in responding to the suffering that continues to afflict our world, particularly hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and the inequitable distribution of resources."
Pope Benedict congratulated Patriarch Bartholomew for his outspoken statement in defense of the natural environment, and said that he hoped to "work together in drawing attention to humanity’s responsibility for the safeguarding of creation."
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Message to Bartholomew I for the Feast of St. Andrew (VIS)