Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has said that he does not anticipate any spectacular developments when Pope Francis visits Turkey in late November, but that he and the Roman Pontiff will issue a joint statement that should be “an important milestone” in ecumenical relations.
Speaking to Austrian reporters as he prepares for a trip to that country, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that the Pope’s visit, which will come as the Constantinople see celebrates its patronal feast of St. Andrew, will be “an important sign of solidarity” between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. He said that a restoration of Christian unity “cannot happen overnight,” but both Catholic and Orthodox leaders are working to strengthenties.
Patriarch Bartholomew admitted to disappointment that a joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission had failed to reach agreement on the question of primacy. He observed that a draft statement on the issue had been approved by all the Catholic participants and many of the Orthodox theologians. But lingering disagreements in the Orthodox world prevented an accord, he said.