Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Barthlomew I prayed together in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in a beautiful act of unity.
Now, they're taking a further step to heal the centuries-old schism between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches by holding a gathering together to commemorate the Council of Nicaea, which took place in 325. Seventeen centuries later, Francis and Bartholomew will come together in 2025 to celebrate the historic meeting.
"We agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated," Bartholomew told.
The meeting at the Holy Sepulchre has revitalized dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox , two Christian visions that despite their differences, have a common vision of the sacraments and apostolic tradition.
"The dialogue for unity between Catholics and Orthodox - Bartholomew tells AsiaNews - will start again from Jerusalem. In this city, in the autumn , a meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Commission will be held hosted by the Greek -Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III . It is a long journey in which we all must be committed without hypocrisy".
"Jerusalem - continues Bartholomew - is the place, the land of the dialogue between God and man, the place where the Logos of God was incarnated. Our predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras have chosen this place to break a silence that lasted centuries between the two sister Churches".
"I walked with my brother Francis in the Holy Land not with the fears of Luke and Cleopas on their way to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24: 13-35), but inspired by a living hope which we learn from our Lord".