Bartholomew and Francis walking towards Nicaea 2025
NICAEA – Pope Francis and the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople envisage an ecumenical meeting in 2025 at Nicaea (now Iznik in Turkey), marking the anniversary of the First Council of 325, during which the common creed of the East and West Churches was proclaimed.
During his three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Francis continued to “build bridges”. A dazzling triduum which likely marks the beginning of a new era, that of dialogue towards peace, which this Sunday’s prayer service at the Vatican will signal, but will also the advance the path to unity.
The proposed meeting is result of the encounter in the Holy Land between the Patriarch and the Pope, their joint declaration signed on the Mount of Olives, and their common prayer at the Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Resurrection commemorating the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI.
The joint declaration, signed on May 25, 2014 by the Pope and the Patriarch, expressed the shared commitment to continue walking together towards unity. “The next big event, declared the Patriarch of Constantinople to the Italian Catholic missionary agency Asia News will be “a new meeting at Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod which gave rise to Creed.”
The First Council of Nicaea in 325 gathered together over 300 bishops of the East and West, and had led to the promulgation of the Creed or “Nicene Creed”, a single profession of faith for all the baptized, including the reaffirmation of the divinity of Christ, equal with the Father, partly in response to the Arian heresy prevalent at the time.
The Patriarch also told Asia News that “dialogue for unity between Catholics and Orthodox resumes from Jerusalem. In this city, in the autumn, there will be a meeting of the Joint Catholic-Orthodox Commission, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III. The road is long, all must commit without hypocrisy.”
“Jerusalem, continued the Patriarch, is the place, the land of the dialogue between God and man, where Logos of God was incarnate. Our predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras chose this place to break centuries of silence between the two sister churches.”
“I walked with my brother Francis in this Holy Land not with the fear of Cleophas and Luke on the road to Emmaus, but inspired by a great hope, as Our Lord teaches us,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch.