L’Archevêque Job à la fête patronale de l’Église de Rome

(JPEG)Les 28 et 29 juin 2014, Son Éminence l’Archevêque Job de Telmessos a fait partie, avec Son Éminence le Métropolite Jean de Pergame et l’Archidiacre du Trône œcuménique Jean Chryssavgis, de la délégation du Patriarcat œcuménique pour la fête patronale de l’Église de Rome.

Le samedi 28 juin, la délégation a été reçue par Sa Sainteté le Pape François au Palais apostolique. Son Éminence le Métropolite Jean de Pergame, au nom de Sa Sainteté le Patriarche œcuménique Bartholomée, a prononcé en anglais le discours suivant :

Your Holiness,

(JPEG)It is a great honour and a special privilege for us to stand before You at this moment in order to bring to You and the venerable Church of Rome, the Church which “presides in love”, according to St. Ignatius of Antioch, the fraternal love and good wishes of the Church of Constantinople and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the feast of the Patron Saints of Your Church and our common Saints, the great Apostles Peter and Paul.

We have come again this year, following the blessed custom established by our two Churches after the restoration of their fraternal relations in faithfulness to the spirit of reconciliation demanded from us by our common Lord. This custom is much more than a mere formality ; it expresses the commitment of our Churches to continue following the difficult but blessed path towards the restoration of our full communion at the Eucharistic Table, the communion that we enjoyed during the first millennium of the Church’s history.

This time, we have come with our hearts filled with joy and gratitude to our Lord, as we still live with the memory of the great event of the recent encounter of Your Holiness with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the Holy City of Jerusalem to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting which took place there between the two great and courageous leaders of our Churches, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, both of blessed memory, a meeting that marked the end of a long period of distance and estrangement between our two Churches and the beginning of the present state of our fraternal relations.

This fraternal encounter of Your Holiness with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the place where our Lord lived, taught, suffered the Cross and rose from the dead ; the prayers offered before the sacred Tomb of our Lord ; and the common declaration signed by Your Holiness and our Patriarch - all this sent a strong message of love and peace to the world at a time when so much conflict and suffering prevail, particularly in the region of the Holy Land and the Middle East.

Equally, the invitation issued by Your Holiness to the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to come to Rome at the beginning of this month in order to pray with You for peace in their region - an event in which our Patriarch also participated at the gracious invitation of Your Holiness - has left a deep impression in the hearts of all peace-loving people throughout the world.

We give glory to God for these historic events, and we express gratitude to Your Holiness for all that you have done to bring them about.

Your Holiness,

We all know that our message of peace and reconciliation to the world can be credible only if it is first applied to ourselves, i.e., to the Church. It is for this reason that we continue with full commitment our efforts to promote the theological dialogue between our two Churches, which continues in a spirit of love, mutual trust and respect. The Mixed International Commission of the dialogue is scheduled to meet in plenary next September to continue the discussion of the subject of primacy in the Church. It is a difficult subject but, with the grace of God, we hope to make progress. The way that Your Holiness understands and applies ecclesial primacy offers inspiration and hope in our efforts to reach agreement on this thorny issue. Your Holiness,

As we celebrate the feast of the two great Apostles of our Lord, the words of St. Paul to the Philippians come to mind :

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind and having the same love, with one mind and a common care for unity. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Ch. 2,2-4).

Your Holiness,

Today, more so than ever before, there is an urgent need to “be of the same mind and have the same love, with one mind and a common care for unity”. In the spirit of this apostolic admonition, and in earnest hopefulness at the prospect of Your visit to Constantinople next November for the Thronal Feast of our Church, we have the honour of presenting to You the personal letter of His All-Holiness, extending once again the fraternal love and good wishes of the Church of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the solemn occasion of Your Patronal Feast.

May our Lord, through the intercessions of the holy Apostles whose memory we keep today, protect His Church together with all His creation, leading us to the fulfillment of His will “that we all may be one” (John 17,21) for the glory of His most holy name. Amen.

Sa Sainteté le Pape François a répondu en italien par l’allocution suivante :

The Solemnity of the Holy Patrons of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Peter and Paul, once again gives me the joy of greeting a delegation from the sister Church of Constantinople. In extending to you a warm welcome, I express my gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomaios I, and to the Holy Synod for having sent you to share with us in the joy of this feast.

I have vivid and moving memories of my recent meetings with my beloved brother Bartholomaios. During our common pilgrimage to the Land of Jesus, we were able to relive the gift of that embrace between our venerable predecessors, Athenagoras I and Paul VI, which took place fifty years ago in the holy city of Jerusalem. That prophetic gesture gave decisive impulse to a journey which, thank God, has never ceased. I consider it a special gift from the Lord that we were able to venerate the holy places together and to pray at each other’s side at the place of Christ’s burial, where we can actually touch the foundation of our hope. The joy of that meeting was then renewed when, in a certain sense, we concluded our pilgrimage here at the tomb of the Apostle Peter as we joined in fervent prayer, together with the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, for the gift of peace in the Holy Land. The Lord granted us these occasions of fraternal encounter, in which we were able to express the love uniting us in Christ, and to renew our mutual desire to walk together along the path to full unity.

We know very well that this unity is a gift of God, a gift that even now the Most High grants us the grace to attain whenever, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we choose to look at one another with the eyes of faith and to see ourselves as we truly are in God’s plan, according to the designs of his eternal will, and not what we have become as a result of the historical consequences of our sins. If all of us can learn, prompted by the Spirit, to look at one another in God, our path will be even straighter and our cooperation all the more easy in the many areas of daily life which already happily unite us.

This way of “looking at one another in God” is nourished by faith, hope and love ; it gives rise to an authentic theological reflection which is truly scientia Dei, a participation in that vision which God has of himself and of us. It is a reflection which can only bring us closer to one another on the path of unity, despite our differing starting points. I hope and I pray, then, that the work of the Joint International Commission can be a sign of this profound understanding, this theology “on its knees”. In this way, the Commission’s reflections on the concepts of primacy and synodality, communion in the universal Church and the ministry of the Bishop of Rome will not be an academic exercise or a mere debate about irreconcilable positions. All of us need, with courage and confidence, to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. We need to let ourselves be caught up in Christ’s loving gaze upon the Church, his Bride, in our journey of spiritual ecumenism. It is a journey upheld by the martyrdom of so many of our brothers and sisters who, by their witness to Jesus Christ the Lord, have brought about an ecumenism of blood.

Dear members of the Delegation, with sentiments of sincere respect, friendship and love in Christ, I renew my heartfelt gratitude for your presence among us. I ask you to convey my greeting to my venerable brother Bartholomaios and to continue to pray for me and for the ministry with which I have been entrusted. Through the intercession of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, and of Saints Peter and Paul, the princes of the Apostles, and Saint Andrew the first-called, may Almighty God bless us and fill us with every grace. Amen.

Les membres de la délégation du Patriarcat œcuménique ont ensuite été conviés à déjeuner avec Sa Sainteté le Pape François à la Maison Sainte Marthe du Vatican où ils ont pu échanger avec lui de manière informelle.

Dans l’après-midi, ils ont eu une réunion de travail avec le Président du Conseil pontifical pour la promotion de l’Unité des Chrétiens, le Cardinal Kurt Koch, son secrétaire, l’Évêque Brian Farrell, et son sous-secrétaire, Monseigneur Andrea Palmieri, durant laquelle ont été évoquées les relations et la poursuite du dialogue théologique entre les deux Églises.

Le dimanche 29 juin, les membres de la délégation ont assisté à la messe pontificale à la Basilique Saint-Pierre de Rome, durant laquelle Sa Sainteté le Pape François et Son Éminence le Métropolite Jean de Pergame, chef de la délégation, ont échangé le baiser de paix.

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