Pope: Bartholomew I, hope to unite Eastern churches and Rome

Even if not immediately. Francis can reform Vatican

25 March, 15:20

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, MARCH 25 - The Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I who attended last week the mass inaugurating the pontificate of Pope Francis, believes the reunification of the Orthodox and Rome Churches 1,000 years after the Great Schism of 1054 is possible, the Turkish press reports.

Speaking at a meeting at the university of Kadir Has in Istanbul, Hurriyet reports, Bartholomew I said he believed 'there is a possibility for the next generations to see the churches of the East and West reunited'. 'This will probably not happen during my life', he added. Bartholomew I, 73, has been since 1991 the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox church, and last week became the first patriarch of Constantinople to be present at the inauguration of a new pontificate since 1054.

Speaking about the new pontiff, Hurriyet reported Bartholomew I as saying that he 'seems very different' from his predecessors and that he 'has the ability' to reform the Vatican.

The patriarch, according to Hurriyet, said he was 'surprised' to be invited by the pope on the night of his arrival in Rome to a dinner with the cardinals which Francis asked him to bless. After the meal, which lasted two hours and a half, the talk was not only on bringing the Eastern and Western Churches closer but also the environment, an issue dear to the patriarch, and poverty, one of Francis' priorities.

The patriarch confirmed that he invited the new pope to visit Fener, the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, in Istanbul.

Francis and Bartholomew, according to Hurriyet, will meet in Jerusalem on January 4-6, 2014, during the Orthodox Christam, 50 years after the historic meeting between Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. (ANSAmed)

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