Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday held the first meeting in nearly a millennium between heads of their two branches of the Christian church.
Here are key points from their joint declaration:
“For nearly one thousand years… we have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors. We are pained by the loss of unity.”
“It is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re-establishment of this unity willed by God.”
“We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love.”
“In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated… We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East.”
“We wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.”
“The international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action.”
“Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God`s name.”
“We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.”
“We give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe.”
“At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which… political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.”
“While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots.”
“We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations… The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.”
“We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries… The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman… We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union.”
“We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God.”
“The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled to begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general. We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God.”
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