- Mar 2, 2021
Ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Egypt, the spiritual head of the Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, offered a blueprint for the future of interreligious dialogue based upon recognizing the central role religion plays in human life. He was speaking Thursday at the same event Pope Francis was scheduled to address on Friday.
A recent, and long needed, restoration of the most sacred chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a small sign of the progress that has been made in the relationship among the Churches which control the shrine. This year – when Catholic and Orthodox Easter fall on the same day – Holy Saturday will be a busy day in the church.
Father Georgi Mamaladze, a high-profile priest in Georgia, was arrested at the Tbilisi airport on Friday with cyanide in his suitcase. Prosecutors believe he was plotting to poison a senior cleric, possibly Patriarch Ilia, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Pointing to the passage in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians that says “if one member suffers, all suffer together,” Pope Francis assured the Orthodox leaders present at a speech he gave Friday to Catholic and Oriental Orthodox leaders, that “your sufferings are our sufferings.”
The message of the meeting of the European Catholic-Orthodox Forum said its aim was “to demonstrate the convergence of Catholics and Orthodox on major issues of social ethics” and the will of both churches to stand together in the face of “unprecedented challenges and threats against Christianity.”
The Orthodox Church in Russia is expanding its influence in the country and President Vladimir Putin does not hesitate to reap the benefits. As the religious right closes art exhibitions and opposes gay rights, the Kremlin uses Christian roots to legitimize the annexation of Crimea.