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Relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church

We should reinforce this process so that the full truth of the faith becomes a common patrimony, shared by both sides, that can give birth to a truly peaceful conviviality, rooted in and founded in charity.

We know well how to behave to establish the orientations that must guide the work of evangelization so necessary after the somber period of State atheism. We agree to recognize the religious and cultural traditions of each people, and religious freedom as well.

Evangelization cannot be based on a spirit of competition, but on reciprocal respect and cooperation which recognize the freedom of each person to live according to his own convictions in respect for his religious belonging.

4. In the development of our contacts, starting with the Pan-Orthodox Conferences and the Second Vatican Council, we have been the witnesses of a promising reconciliation between East and West, based on prayer and on a dialogue of charity and of truth, which has had many moments of profound communion. This is why we look with concern at the current difficulties that beset the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and, on the occasion of our meeting, we desire to express the hope that no initiative will be neglected that can reactivate the theological dialogue and relaunch the activity of the commission. We have the duty to do so, for theological dialogue makes stronger the affirmation of our shared will for communion over against the present situation of division.

5. The Church is not a reality closed in on herself: she is sent to the world and she is open to the world. The new possibilities that are being created in an already united Europe that is in the process of extending its frontiers to associate the peoples and cultures of the Central and Eastern parts of the continent, are a challenge that the Christians of East and West must face together. The more the latter are united in their witness to the one Lord, the more they will contribute to giving voice, consistency and space to the Christian soul of Europe, to respect for life, to the dignity and the fundamental rights of the human person, to justice and to solidarity, to peace, to reconciliation, to the values of the family and to the protection of creation. Europe in its entirety needs the cultural richness forged by Christianity.

The Orthodox Church of Romania, the centre of contacts and exchanges between the fruitful Slav and Byzantine traditions of the East, and the Church of Rome who in her Latin element, evokes the Western voice of the one Church of Christ, must contribute together to a task that belongs to the third millennium. In accord with the traditional beautiful expression, the particular Churches like to call one another “Sister Churches”. To be open to this dimension means collaborating to restore to Europe its deepest ethos and its truly human face.

With these perspectives and these dispositions, together we entrust ourselves to the Lord, imploring him to make us worthy of building the Body of Christ, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4,13).

Last Modified: 23 Mar 2010

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