Interview with Fr. Nathanael Symeonides from the Kayhan London, a Persian-language newspaper outside Iran, on the visit of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Jerusalem.
“The meeting of the pope and the ecumenical patriarch in Jerusalem 50 years after the historic encounter of our ever-memorable predecessors, Paul VI and Athenagoras, should not be underestimated by anyone,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in an interview published last May in the National Catholic Reporter. Obviously he is addressing a Catholic audience in that specific interview, but when I read that sentence I had a feeling as if he was addressing the Turkish audience too; as the historic meeting that will take place in Jerusalem next weekend is about to go unnoticed by the Turkish public.
NCC - Church leaders celebrate historic meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis
Washington, May 28, 2014 – Officers and staff of the National Council of Churches USA expressed “joy and celebration” at the historic meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis in Jerusalem this week. While media coverage has focused on Pope Francis’ meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the NCC noted the original purpose of the visit was “ecumenical in nature.” “The real significance is the fact that both Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew traveled to Jerusalem to embrace the unity that has been growing for fifty years,” said Jim Winkler, president and general secretary of the NCC
Departing from his weekly catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his May 28 general audience to his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The trip, he said, had three purposes. The “principal purpose” was “to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras …
JERUSALEM — Pope Francis pursued peace of both body and soul here Sunday, inviting the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to the Vatican to pray for peace and later embracing his own estranged Christian brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Representatives of the president of Israel and the Palestinian Authority said they would accept Francis’ offer, although it was questionable how productive the event could be. The Israeli presidency is largely ceremonial.
On the second day of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land over the weekend, Pope Francis got in trouble. Several media outlets called it a "propaganda war": The pontiff made an unscheduled stop to pray at the wall that divides Jerusalem from Bethlehem, which is in the West Bank; the following day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompanied him on yet another unscheduled visit, this time to an Israeli memorial for victims of terrorism. There were endless photo ops—a competition to capture the pope's most politically poignant moment: praying at the Western Wall, praying on the banks of the Jordan River, praying before a Palestinian security checkpoint covered with Arabic graffiti. But even though Francis met with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his trip wasn't about the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was about Christians.
JERUSALEM — If anyone gets credit for bringing Pope Francis I, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to Israel this week, it is All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of over 300 million Orthodox Christian faithful worldwide. It all started when Patriarch Bartholomew attended Pope Francis’ investiture last March — the first time that a spiritual head of the Orthodox Christians has attended such a papal inaugural Mass since the "Great Schism" in 1054. Seeing as the moment was historic, Patriarch Bartholomew went one further, suggesting a joint religious road trip of sorts to Jerusalem — to mark and celebrate the reconciliation between the two churches 50 years ago.
JERUSALEM - Pope Francis joined Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I in an historic joint prayer for the Christian unity at Christianity's holiest site in Jerusalem on Sunday. They met at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher inside the walled Old City after signing a landmark pledge to work together to further unity between the eastern and western branches of Christianity, estranged for a millennium.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Pope Francis and the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians prayed together Sunday inside the Jerusalem church that symbolizes their divisions, calling their historic meeting a step toward healing the centuries-old Catholic-Orthodox schism. Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I embraced one another in the stone courtyard outside the 12th century Church of the Holy Sepulcher and recited the "Our Father" prayer together once inside, an unprecedented moment of solemnity at the spot where Catholic and Orthodox believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
Pope Francis and the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians prayed together Sunday inside the Jerusalem church that symbolizes their divisions, calling their historic meeting a step toward healing the centuries-old Catholic-Orthodox schism. Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I embraced one another in the stone courtyard outside the 12th century Church of the Holy Sepulcher and recited the "Our Father" prayer together once inside, an unprecedented moment of solemnity at the spot where Catholic and Orthodox believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Half a century after a historic encounter between their predecessors, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met in the same place to seek inspiration for Christian unity at the site of Christ's death and resurrection. "We need to believe that, just as the stone before the tomb was cast aside, so, too, every obstacle to our full communion will also be removed," the pope said May 25 during a prayer service at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Pope Francis has met with Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I in Jerusalem, with the two religious leaders praying for Christian unity. The meeting was a highlight of the pontiff's three-day Middle East trip. Sunday's joint prayer took place at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered in Christian tradition as being built on the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The Times of Israel - Pope’s East-West church summit sends message to Mideast, NY rabbi says Read more: Pope's East-West church summit sends message to Mideast, NY rabbi says
The Jerusalem location of Pope Francis’s meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was no coincidence: Commemorating the first summit between a Roman Catholic pope and ecumenical patriarch (the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians) 50 years ago after a millennium of schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, Sunday’s meeting was a reminder to Israelis and Palestinians that their battle, too, could have an eventual resolution.
In Jerusalem on Sunday, Pope Francis will meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the honorary head of the Orthodox church. The two men, representing Christian traditions estranged for 1,000 years, will pray together in public. They will sign a hitherto undisclosed joint declaration. It is likely that they will give each other a hug. For many people a meeting between Christian leaders wearing different hats might not seem like such a political high point. But, in fact, it's the reason for Francis's three-day trip to the Holy Land.
There are few things in the World that break my heart as much as reading about the tragic moments in the Church’s history that have caused schism. Perhaps the greatest wound the church has endured is the severing of its Eastern and Western lungs, the schism of the East from the West. For nearly 1,000 years, half of our history, the West has lived divorced from the wisdom of much of the Eastern Church, and Most of the Eastern Churches have lived divorced from the wisdom of the West. The wounds have been tended too, but have never fully healed.
Washington D.C., May 23, 2014 / 04:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Two U.S. bishops have joined other religious leaders in asking Secretary of State John Kerry to continue “determined U.S. leadership” in negotiating for peace between Palestine and Israel. “Indeed, no past progress toward peace has occurred in this conflict without U.S. leadership, facilitation and resolute support,” said the May 20 letter to Kerry from the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East.
JERUSALEM — Pope Francis Saturday begins a three-day trip to the Middle East, his first to the region since becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church. On Saturday, Pope Francis travels to Jordan, where he will meet King Abdullah and celebrate Mass before 40,000 people in Amman's main stadium
(CNN) -- So, a rabbi, a sheikh and a pope travel to the Holy Land… It might sound like the start of a trite joke, but it’s actually the entourage for one of the most highly anticipated papal trips in recent history. As Pope Francis heads to Jordan, Bethlehem and Jerusalem this weekend, he’s bringing along two old friends from Argentina: Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who co-wrote a book with the Pope, and Sheikh Omar Abboud, who leads Argentina’s Muslim community.
Washington D.C., May 22, 2014 / 12:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders in the U.S. celebrated the closeness between the two churches, recommitting to continued dialogue as Pope Francis’ trip to the Holy Land approaches. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the U.S., in issuing a May 15 joint statement rejoicing in the “good fruit” that dialogue has yielded between the churches.
"The world has opened our eyes to a totally unexpected event," a retired senior Vatican official and close collaborator to both Pope Paul VI and John XXIII has said. During a presentation Tuesday at the Vatican Radio headquarters in Vatican City of the book, "L'abbraccio di Gerusalemme" ("The 'Embrace' of Jerusalem - Fifty Years Ago, the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras"), written by Valeria Martano and published by Paulist Press, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president emeritus of the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue, stressed the decisive roles of Paul VI and John XXIII. Through the meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, respective successors to Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, they will commemorate the historic moment of the “embrace” 50 years ago in Jerusalem.
Pope Francis says his upcoming trip to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank is "strictly religious" and aimed at praying for peace in the region. Francis sought to temper expectations for his trip during his weekly Wednesday general audience.
Fox News - Pope says trip to Jordan, West Bank and Israel is 'strictly religious,' will pray for peace
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis says his upcoming trip to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank is "strictly religious" and aimed at praying for peace in the region. Francis sought to temper expectations for his trip during his weekly Wednesday general audience.
Local leaders of the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are asking their followers to pray for a positive outcome at an upcoming meeting between the heads of their respective churches. Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew will meet in Jerusalem Sunday, in the same spot their predecessors held a momentous meeting 50 years ago, Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, said in a statement. In a rare joint letter, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley and Metropolitan Methodios wrote, “We ask our clergy and laity to continue to pray for the unity of the church and the witness of the Gospel in our world.”
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis says his upcoming trip to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank is “strictly religious” and aimed at praying for peace in the region. Francis sought to temper expectations for his trip during his weekly Wednesday general audience.
Pope Francis hasn’t even left for his weekend tour of the Holy Land and his trip is already breaking with tradition. He won’t use a bulletproof car, unlike most every head of state to visit the region, opting instead for an open-top vehicle. He has invited an imam and a rabbi to travel with him—the first time an official papal delegation has included members of other faiths; Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, a leader of Argentina’s Islamic community, are the Pope’s longtime friends from Argentina. He’s also emphasizing that his trip is a pilgrimage with a “strictly religious” purpose, as he said in his general audience on Wednesday.
In just a few days’ time, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will meet in the Holy Land. It is not known precisely what they will say and do during that encounter. But it will certainly be an opportunity to deepen the relationship between Francis, and “my brother Andrew,” as he called the patriarch when they met the day after his installation as Bishop of Rome. Pope Francis’ calling Bartholomew “Andrew” alludes to the fact that, while Peter is associated with Rome, his blood brother Andrew is associated with the Church of Constantinople as its patron. The meeting on the horizon will have great symbolic significance since it takes places 50 years after the historic encounter between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in the Holy Land in January 1964.
Pope Francis will be the fourth pope in the last 50 years to make this historic pilgrimage to the Palestinian people. What adds to the excitement and great anticipation of this trip is realizing that two of the popes are alive, one has just recently been declared a saint and another is about to be declared blessed.
ROME — With a rabbi and a Muslim sheik as his travel companions, Pope Francis is heading to the Middle East with what he hopes will be a powerful message of interfaith respect. It will be the first time that leaders of other faiths are part of an official papal delegation. The aim is to send “an extremely strong and explicit signal” about interfaith dialogue and the “normality” of having friends of other religions, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, chief Vatican spokesman, told reporters.
JERUSALEM (CNS) -- In 1964, when Sister Frieda Nasser was 16, she was among 12 girls chosen to greet Pope Paul VI as he entered Bethlehem, West Bank, on his two-day visit to the Holy Land. It was January, and the girls were in place at 3 a.m., waiting for the pope's 6 a.m. arrival, but with all the excitement they did not feel the cold, she recalled.
The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America have issued a joint statement on the upcoming meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
JERUSALEM — On Saturday, Pope Francis will travel to the Holy Land to commemorate the end of the Great Schism — which, despite its evocative name, is not another episode of Game of Thrones. In 1054 Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople, frustrated by longstanding disputes with the Latin pope, cut ties to Rome and proclaimed the independence of a Christian tradition that would come to be known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. Between that moment and 1964, when Pope Paul VI embraced Patriarch Athenagoras in a small Jerusalem room, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches were not even on speaking terms.
The Meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis in the Holy City of Jerusalem, May 24-26
The Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate take this opportunity to inform the faithful regarding the upcoming historic meeting between His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Holiness Pope Francis taking place in Jerusalem May 25 - 26, 2014. We encourage all Archons to share this email with your relatives, friends and colleagues and follow the Apostolic Encounter on www.apostolicpilgrimage.org.
Pope Francis will take part in an unprecedented joint prayer in Jerusalem next weekend with representatives of all the main branches of Christianity in a bid to put aside old rivalries. The ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre -- venerated as the place of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection -- is seen by the Vatican as the highpoint of the papal visit to the Middle East.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On Pope Francis' first trip to the Holy Land, May 24-26, his agenda will focus on the search for Christian unity, particularly between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. But inevitably, in a region so rich in history and so fraught with conflict, he will address other urgent issues, including dialogue with Jews and Muslims, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the plight of the Middle East's shrinking Christian population. The Vatican has emphasized that the pope's main purpose on the trip is to meet in Jerusalem with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, considered first among equals by Orthodox bishops. The official logo for the papal visit is an icon of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, patron saints of the churches of Rome and Constantinople, joined in a fraternal embrace.
JERUSALEM — When Pope Francis sets foot in the Holy Land next week, he’ll be treading on diplomatic eggshells at virtually every stop. Israeli-Palestinian politics are just one of the many sensitive issues Vatican officials are navigating. Other sore points are incidents of anti-Christian vandalism in Israel, lingering tensions between the Holy See and the Jewish community, historic disputes with rival Christian denominations and closed-door real estate negotiations with Israel.
USCCB - Archbishop Kurtz, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios Celebrate Growing Closeness Between Catholics and Orthodox Ahead of Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Meeting in Jerusalem
WASHINGTON—The historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem in January 1964 was a joyful occasion that swept aside centuries of division and has born good fruit, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, in a joint statement, May 15.
OSV: The search for unity A look at the 1,000-year-old divide between the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic churches — and what’s being done to bring them back together
1.The historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem in January 1964 was a joyful occasion that swept aside centuries of division and has born good fruit, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, in a joint statement, May 15. The statement anticipated the May 25 meeting of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem.
ROME – When Pope Francis highlights his upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land by meeting with the leader of the Orthodox Church, the papal delegation will include Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, a most interested observer. Since May 2012, the archbishop emeritus of Baltimore has served as grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, which promotes the support and protection of Christians in the Holy Land. The pope is scheduled to meet May 25 in Jerusalem with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, according to Catholic News Service, “considered first among equals by Orthodox bishops.” According to an official itinerary, the two will sign a joint declaration.
The principal purpose of the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land May 24-26 will not be a conventional pilgrimage like those of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. The commemoration will be observed - indeed celebrated - by Francis meeting with Bartholomew, the successor of Athenagoras as ecumenical patriarch. This is a very different type of pilgrimage. Although the Pope will go to Jerusalem, there will be no trip to Nazareth, Capernaum, the Mount of the Beatitudes, or the Sea of Galilee, all very important places for pilgrims.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (RNS) With the last round of peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority stalled if not moribund, some are hoping that a scheduled visit by Pope Francis to the Holy Land in May will breathe new life into the peace process. Vera Baboun, the first female mayor of this embattled city where Jesus was born, is one. The peace process, she said, has been hampered by a lack of courageous leadership. “How many courageous hearts do we have in the world? Francis is a courageous heart.”
ISTANBUL, Turkey Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians, says a meeting with Pope Francis in Jerusalem this month will help move the two churches closer to ending their 960-year divide. In an interview, Bartholomew also praised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for improving the situation of Christians but said pointedly, “it is not enough.”
When Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople meet this month in Jerusalem, the buzz probably will be about two milestones from the past: 1054, when Eastern and Western Christianity split, and 1964, when Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras embraced in the Holy Land to begin healing the division. That historic meeting 50 years ago helped launch the modern ecumenical movement for Christian unity.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople meets Pope Francis in Jerusalem May 25, one of their main discussion topics will be the "diminishing Christian minorities in the Middle East," the patriarch told Catholic News Service. "The urgency is upon us," he said.
Fox News - AP Interview: Ahead of meeting with Pope, Orthodox Patriarch says two leaders seeking unity
In an interview with The Associated Press Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, first among equals and spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians says a meeting with Pope Francis in Jerusalem this month will help move the two churches closer to ending their nearly one-thousand-year divide.
JIFNA, West Bank (CNS)—Suheir Saliba was running late as she prepared to go to the Easter Divine Liturgy with her husband, Aimad Kamal, and his family. Saliba, a Catholic, had a late night. She, along with other Catholic and Greek Orthodox residents of the village, had attended the ceremony welcoming the holy fire at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Father Firas Aridah of St. Joseph Catholic Church was also at St. George, where Greek Orthodox Father George Awad lit his candle with the holy fire. Later, after the Greek Orthodox reception, Father Aridah celebrated Mass at St. Joseph.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone asked that both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics join together in praying for the intercession of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to achieve unity between the two churches. “She is our most powerful intercessor before his throne. So let us ask her to intercede for us with her son,” Archbishop Cordileone said in his homily at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross April 8 in Belmont.
Pope Francis will pray side-by-side with Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew in Jerusalem in a powerful sign of Christian unity during his May visit to Holy Land, the Vatican said on Thursday. The prayer will take place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the spots widely believed to be the sites of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
VATICAN CITY — The Holy See has officially published the itinerary for Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the Holy Land, during which he is slated to travel to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. During the May 24-26 trip, he will meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. When the papal visit was announced by Pope Francis himself during his Jan. 5 Sunday Angelus address, he revealed that the principal goal of the trip is “to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I that occurred … 50 years ago today.”
ATLANTA—On Dec. 17, 2013, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta hosted the semi-annual Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical gathering. This gathering’s theme was the Nativity of Christ in a world in need of faith, hope and love. The Advent celebration was the largest since its inception during the Year of St. Paul in 2008-2009. The Annunciation Cathedral provided a magnificent setting for a prayerful celebration of readings, reflection and hymnody.
Vatican City, Jan 8, 2014 / 12:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to be held in May, will center on his encounter with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Eastern Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople, and their discussions on ecumenism. Announcing the trip Jan. 5, Pope Francis said its “principal goal” is “to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I, that occurred … 50 years ago today.”
ROME — Pope Francis will visit Israel in May as well as Jordan and the West Bank. The pontiff made the formal announcement of his long-anticipated trip from his Vatican window before a crowd who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a rainy January 5 Sunday on Jan. 5. “In the climate of joy, typical of this Christmas season, I wish to announce that from 24 to 26 May next, God willing, I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” he said after celebrating Mass.
Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - Pope Francis will be in the Holy Land May 24 to 26 , to commemorate the "historic meeting" between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras . During this pilgrimage, for which the Pope asks the prayers of all the faithful, there is an Ecumenical Meeting at the Holy Sepulchre with the representatives of all the Christian Churches present in the Holy Land . This was announced by the Pope after the Angelus today, delivered to a St. Peter's Square under pouring rain.
VATICAN CITY, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Pope Francis announced at the Vatican Sunday he will visit the Holy Land in May. Francis made the announcement in front of a crowd of people who braved rainy weather to hear his recital of the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, Vatican Radio reported. "In the climate of joy, typical of this Christmas season, I wish to announce that ... [May 24-26], God willing, I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land," the pope said. The trip will commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras on Jan. 5, 1964, Francis said.