Visit of an ecumenical delegation from Finland

18-24 January 2019

22 Jan 2019

On January 19, 2019, following a 34 year old custom, Pope Francis received in private audience an ecumenical delegation from Finland, visiting Rome on the occasion of the Feast of St Henrik, patron of Finland. They were led by the Lutheran Bishop of Kuopio, Jari Jolkkonen, the Orthodox Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and all of Finland, and by Msgr Raimo Goyarrola, Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Helsinki. The director of the International Relations Department of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Revd Dr Kimmo Kääriäinen, was also part of the delegation.

On 18 January, at the Pro Unione Centre and at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome, an international symposium was held on the important new document of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland. The Finnish delegation participated in the symposium together with international professors and ecumenists.

The Pilgrimage to Rome testifies the good ecumenical relations which have developed through the decades between the different churches of Finland. In addition to the ecumenical celebration of S. Maria Sopra Minerva on January 19, Feast of St Henrik, and the Vespers in the Church of the Sisters of Saint Bridget, a meeting took place at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) between the Finnish delegation, Cardinal Koch, Bishop Farrell and Msgr Türk, during which ecumenical contacts in Finland were widely discussed.

In 2018 the private audience with the Pope was also an occasion for the two co-presidents of the Commission for dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland, the Lutheran Bishop of Lapua, Simo Peura, and Bishop Teemu Sippo SCJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Helsinki, to offer the Holy Father a copy of the book of the new consensus text entitled "Communion in Growth. Declaration on the Church, Eucharist, and Ministry ".


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