Deacon Alexy Dikarev, a member of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations, told Pravmir why this meeting took place in the Holy Land and whether Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew have attained full unity.
“During the enthronement of Pope Francis, it was agreed upon with Patriarch Bartholomew to hold a meeting in Jerusalem to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, which took place in Jerusalem in 1964.
“The declaration begins with an acknowledgment of the importance of the historical fact of the first meeting, which gave birth to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.
“Moreover, it highlights the important role of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which has operated since 1979. The main purpose of its work is reaching a broad consensus on issues of doctrine – and, therefore, the achievement of Eucharistic unity between the Churches – but they recognize that this goal is far from being achieved.
“The parties recognize the importance of continuing to work together within the framework of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue.
“Not having been able to attain unity, the Churches can, however, already now collaborate on many pressing issues of our time: the protection of the traditional family, human dignity, human life from birth to death, the struggle for peace, social justice, and cleaning up environmental damage.
“The Heads of the Churches expressed their concern for the conflict in the Middle East and especially the situation of Christians in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, and called for reconciliation and conflict resolution. Christians are also encouraged to engage in dialogue with Judaism, Islam, and other religions.”
Translated from the Russian.