East Meets West: Francis and Bartholomew

It didn’t make the front page of the New York Times, but church history was made yesterday as Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew shared an embrace and issued a joint declaration of common mission at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It was a tear inducing hour for those of us who recite the words of the Apostles’ Creed and claim membership in the, “…holy catholic church.”

This is required reading and watching for Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christian believers alike.

The text of Pope Francis’ homily

The text of Patriarch Bartholomew’s homily

Patriarch Bartholomew And Pope Francis Joint Declaration

Finally, here is the video from the events yesterday. Forward to 1:30:00 in this video to hear the homilies given by both leaders. The context and content of these messages are staggering.

Let us receive the special grace of this moment. We pause in reverent silence before this empty tomb in order to rediscover the grandeur of our Christian vocation: we are men and women of resurrection, and not of death. From this place we learn how to live our lives, the trials of our Churches and of the whole world, in the light of Easter morning. Every injury, every one of our pains and sorrows, has been borne on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd who offered himself in sacrifice and thereby opened the way to eternal life. His open wounds are the cleft through which the torrent of his mercy is poured out upon the world. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the basis of our hope! Let us not deprive the world of the joyful message of the resurrection! And let us not be deaf to the powerful summons to unity which rings out from this very place, in the words of the One who, risen from the dead, calls all of us “my brothers” (cf. Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17). -Pope Francis