This week in Christian history: ‘Fighting Chaplain’ killed, John XXIII born, Orthodox-Catholic dialogue

Pope, Orthodox Patriarch worship together – November 30, 1979

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II releases a dove during ceremonies in Guasmo, a poor suburb of Guayaquil, Ecuador, Feb. 12, 1985. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I worshipped together at an Orthodox church in Turkey, as a sign of increased dialogue between the two denominations.

The prominent church leaders released a joint declaration that day, championing efforts at theological dialogue aimed at eventually reuniting the Orthodox and Catholic churches.

“This theological dialogue aims not only at progressing towards the re-establishment of full communion between the Catholic and Orthodox sister-Churches, but also at contributing to the multiple dialogues that are developing in the Christian world in search of its unity,” noted the declaration.

“We want the progress in unity to open up new possibilities of dialogue and collaboration with believers of other religions, and with all men of goodwill, in order that love and brotherhood may prevail over hatred and opposition among men.”

During his trip to the Muslim-majority nation, John Paul II also called for cooperation among the three Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

“I want to take advantage of this meeting . . . to invite you to consider every day the deep roots of the faith in God, professed by the spiritual descendants of Abraham — Christians, Moslems and Jews — [that] when it is lived sincerely, when it penetrates life itself, is an assured foundation of the dignity, the fraternity and the liberty of men and a principle of rectitude for moral conduct and life in society,” stated the pope, as reported by The Washington Post.

“I wonder if it is not urgent today when Christians and Moslems have entered a new period of history to recognize and develop the spiritual links which unite with the goal to spread and defend together as we were invited to do by the Vatican Council moral values, peace and liberty?” 

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