FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW
To His All Holiness Bartholomew I
Archbishop of Constantinople
Your All Holiness,
Once again this year, it is my honour to attend the Feast of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of the Church of Constantinople, together with a delegation from Rome, to take part in the Divine Liturgy with silent prayer in my heart, and lastly to convey to Your All Holiness the fraternal greetings and heartfelt blessings from your dear brother, Pope Francis. It is always a special joy to experience the beauty of the Divine Liturgy, in which the whole cosmos is enclosed and in which the heavens open. It makes us realize anew that the essence of authentic ecumenical dialogue is the exchange of gifts, not just an exchange of ideas, thoughts and theories, but an enriching exchange of gifts. The most precious gifts are undoubtedly preserved by the churches in their liturgical life, and they contain the greatest riches in their liturgies. This liturgical experience is also replenished from the wellspring of theological dialogue, to which the Coordinating Committee of our Joint International Commission dedicated itself two weeks ago at Bose Monastery, continuing to discuss the document “Primacy and Synodality in the Second Millennium and Today”. We are very grateful to you, Your All Holiness, for your great encouragement of the theological dialogue and for inspiring us untiringly on the path to the unity we yearn for the Church in the East and West. Pope Francis was moved by this hope. In this spirit of gratitude and confidence, may I now convey to you the blessings of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and present his message in fraternal love to you, Your All Holiness, to the Holy Synod and to all gathered here for the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Saint George.