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Ecumenism and the philosophy of encounter

· Dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox Churches ·

In past months we have seen images of Syrians fleeing their country to seek refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The plight of these refugees brings our thoughts back to Christians who are living in the Middle East, an area that extends from the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates to the banks of the Nile. 

This painful reality reminds us that Christ is still suffering and poor. Christ is still hungry, thirsty and cold. Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his concern over the situation of those Christians who suffer the consequences of conflict and tension in many regions of the Middle East. He has invited us to fast and pray for peace in Syria and other countries affected by war. Ecclesial charity desires solidarity and peace, it wants to nourish Christ's hunger, to quench his thirst, to clothe his nakedness, to visit him where he is sick and to welcome him when he is exiled.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) has frequent contact with the churches to which these Christians belong. Ecumenical meetings and the exchange of visits remind us that dialogue cannot be separated from the lives of the Churches. The dialogue of truth and the dialogue of charity are closely connected. An ecumenical visit leads to better mutual understanding and this in turn is needed in order to advance theological dialogue and build bridges of trust and friendship.

Gabriel Quicke, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

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Nov. 13, 2018

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