VATICAN: May we “continue and intensify the commitment to ecumenism, encounter and dialogue towards full communion:” with that message, Pope Francis on Thursday September 5, 2013 welcomed Baselios Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, in the Vatican.
In his remarks to the Catholicos, Pope Francis recalled the efforts of his predecessor John Paul II and the former Catholicos Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews I which led to the creation in 1990 of an ongoing commission which has laid out agreements for the “common use of buildings of worship and cemeteries, the mutual concession of spiritual and liturgical resources in specific pastoral situations, and the necessity to identify new forms of collaboration” in the face of growing social and religious challenges.
Noting that past relations between their two Churches had been marred by “division and rivalry,” Pope Francis said. The Pope hoped both sides could work towards reconciliation by cultivating a “culture of encounter” by “overcoming prejudices and closed attitudes which are part of a kind of “culture of clashes” and source of division.”
Pope Francis called for “prayer and commitment” in order to allow friendship and cooperation to grow among the clergy, the faithful, and “among the various churches born from the witness given by St Thomas.”
On September 5, 2013 at 11 am (Vatican time) the Catholicos and His delegation was received by Pope Francis at His residence in Vatican.
Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasios, UK, Europe, Africa diocesan Metropolitan Dr. Mathews Mar Themothios, WCC Moderator Fr. Dr. K. M. George, Clergy Trustee Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konatt, Lay Trustee M.G.George Muthoot, Sabha Secretary Dr. George Joseph, Sabha Managing Committee Member Jacob Mathew (Jojo) and the Ecumenical Relations Secretary Fr. Abraham Thomas was with His Holiness the Catholicos to meet Pope Francis, the supreme head of the Catholic Church.
Speech by Pope Francis -full text
Speech by the Catholicos Paulos II – full text
Source : Vatican Radio– reported by Tracey McClure