“His Holiness Bartholomew has unceasingly pointed to dialogue, in charity and in truth, as the only possible way for reconciliation between all believers in Christ and for the restoration of their full communion. We certainly wish to continue walking together along this path”, Pope Francis said in a video message to mark the 30th anniversary of the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch on 22 October 2021. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words.
I am particularly glad that the 30th anniversary of the election of my friend and brother Bartholomew as Patriarch of the ancient and glorious See of Constantinople is celebrated by so many who will want to give thanks to the Lord for his life and ministry.
The good personal rapport between us was born on the very day of the inauguration of my ministry, when he honoured me with his presence in Rome, and it went on to ripen into a fraternal friendship in the many meetings we have had throughout these years, not only in Rome but also in Constantinople, Jerusalem, Assisi, Cairo, Lesvos and Bari.
Patriarch Bartholomew and I are united by a shared awareness of our joint pastoral responsibility towards the urgent challenges that the entire human family must face today. I am deeply grateful for the Ecumenical Patriarch’s commitment to the protection of creation and for his reflections on the matter, from which I have learned, and continue to learn, a great deal. With the outbreak of the pandemic and the spread of its dramatic healthcare, social and economic consequences, his witness and his teaching on the necessary spiritual conversion of humanity have gained further relevance.
Furthermore, His Holiness Bartholomew has unceasingly pointed to dialogue, in charity and in truth, as the only possible way for reconciliation among all believers in Christ and for the restoration of their full communion. We certainly wish to continue walking together along this path. It is our joint conviction that closeness and solidarity among us Christians and among our Churches is a dutiful contribution to universal brotherhood and social friendship, which humanity so urgently needs.
With these sentiments, I wish to express to Patriarch Bartholomew my warmest wishes for his anniversary, asking God to grant him health, serenity, spiritual joy and — may I say — a sense of humour: even more!
Holiness, beloved brother in Christ, χρόνια πολλά! [Chrònia pollà!] Ad multos annos!