Pope Francis receives delegation of young priests and monks of the Oriental Orthodox Churches

On Friday 3 June, the Holy Father received in a private audience a delegation of young priests and monks of the various Oriental Orthodox Churches in Rome on a study visit organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, presented the delegation, which was joined in the audience by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church to the Holy See, and Bishop Paulos of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

In his address the Holy Father, referring to the feast of Pentecost, called to mind the four “cardinal points guiding us towards full communion”: unity is a gift, that “is not primarily the result of our commitment, our efforts and our agreements, but of the working of the Holy Spirit”; unity is harmony, that is “not uniformity, much less the fruit of compromise or fragile diplomatic balances of power” but “harmony in the diversity of the charisms bestowed by the Spirit”; unity is a journey, that “does not suddenly appear as an overwhelming miracle, but quietly emerges in the patient and persevering progress of a journey made together”; and lastly, “unity is not simply an end in itself, but is closely tied to the fruitfulness of the Christian proclamation: unity is for mission”. In this regard, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the common witness offered by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which have “sealed by their blood their faith in Christ”.

The audience concluded with the prayer of the Our Father.