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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