The delegation was led by Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon, the co-president of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
After recalling his recent meetings with Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem and in Rome, Pope Francis said that “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.”
“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 [knowledge of God], a participation in that vision which God has of himself and of us,” the Pope continued, as he called for “theology ‘on its knees.’”
Pope Francis added:
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.