Pope seeks “communion in legitimate diversity” with Church of Greece

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Pope Francis meets with the Metropolitan Agathanghelos, Director General of the Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece, and a Delegation of the Theological College of Athens. He thanks them for two decades of cooperation between the Church of Greece and the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration.

By Sr. Francine-Marie Cooper, ISSM

“It is the young, sustained by the hope founded on faith, who can break the bonds of antagonism, misunderstanding and prejudice that for centuries held Catholics and Orthodox back from acknowledging one another as brothers and sisters.”

These words of Pope Francis were directed to Metropolitan Agathanghelos, Director General, Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece, and to the Delegation of the Theological College of Athens who visited him on Thursday in the Vatican.  

Two decades of cooperation

Pope Francis welcomed the Director General and the Delegation from the Theological College of Athens and thanked them for “two decades of cooperation between the Apostolikí Diakonía of the Church of Greece and the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.”

The Holy Father turned his thoughts, “with fraternal affection to the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, His Beatitude Ieronymos,” and acknowledged that he is “a man of deep faith and a wise pastor.”

Pope Francis thanked for the support that the Archbishop of Athens has given and continues to give to the “activities jointly promoted by the Apostolikí Diakonía and the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration.”

He remembered the good work that the Apostolikí Diakonía and the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration had done together during the economic crisis in Greece and during the Pandemic. And he expressed his joy over the “decision to give priority to the cultural, theological and ecumenical formation of coming generations.”

Hope in the young generation

The Holy Father went on to express his hope that the young generation of Catholics and Orthodox Christians will be able to acknowledge one another “as brothers and sisters, united in diversity and capable of bearing witness to the love of Christ, especially in a world so divided and riven by conflict.”

“I am happy to learn that once again this summer you will welcome to the Theological College of Athens a group of Catholic students, who will be introduced to knowledge of the modern Greek language and the Orthodox Church,” said the Pope.

And he encouraged those gathered to continue to journey, work and pray together as they await the coming of the Holy Spirit, who brings the gift of Unity, communion and harmony in legitimate diversity.

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