Francis and Armenian Orthodox patriarch say churches are one in prayer, action

By Joshua McElwee        June 26, 2016          National Catholic Reporter on-line

While there may continue to be theological obstacles to the full unification of the different long-separated Christian communions, Pope Francis and the head of the Oriental Orthodox Armenian apostolic church both boldly declared Sunday that their communities are already one in prayer and action.

During an Orthodox Divine Liturgy at the Armenians’ mother church here, Francis and Catholicos Karekin II echoed one another in separate remarks.

The Armenian leader said in his homily for the liturgy that during the pope’s Friday-Sunday visit to the country the two communities had “reconfirmed that the Holy Church of Christ is one in the spreading of the gospel of Christ in the world, in taking care of creation, [in] standing against common problems.”

In his remarks at the end of the liturgy, the pontiff declared: “We have met, we have embraced as brothers, we have prayed together and shared the gifts, hopes and concerns of the Church of Christ. We have felt as one her beating heart, and we believe and experience that the Church is one.”

Moments later Francis turned to Karekin and asked for a blessing, requesting the patriarch to “bless me and the Catholic Church, and to bless this our path towards full unity.” The two then embraced in a fraternal hug with three kisses on the cheeks.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Joshua McElwee writes: Pope “Francis and (Armenian Orthodox Patriarch) Karekin released a joint common declaration in which they stated: “We gladly confirm that despite continuing divisions among Christians, we have come to realize more clearly that what unites us is much more than what divides us.”

    Differences, even divisions, can stimulate the continual growth of a new and better unity…when we commit to love each other regardless of our differences.

    Unity is NOT Uniformity. Cardinal Kasper details Pope Francis’ views on this in his article in ORIGINS: “Vatican II: Toward a Multifaceted Unity”. July 2, 201515 Vol 45: No. 9

    “Unity is not like a puzzle that is simply pieced together out of many parts. The whole is greater than the parts and is therefore not the sum of its parts (‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ 234-237). Therefore the path to unity is not the path of institutional merger.” Google “Rite Beyond Rome” …website which seeks unity in diversity.

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