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Pope Francis: We Christians are all one.

 

The Pope sent a message addressed to President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Cardinal Kurt Koch, who was attending the Global Christian Forum that was meeting in Tirana, Albania. The Vatican just released a copy of the message.

Members of the forum, an ecumenical institution made up of delegates of different Christian churches, were reflecting on the difficulties Christians go through in the face of oppression, discrimination, persecution and martyrdom. “Today the blood of Jesus, poured out by many Christian martyrs in various parts of the world, calls us and compels us towards the goal of unity,” Francis said. “For persecutors,” the pontiff said, such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Northern Iraq, “we Christians are all one!”

The pontiff referred to this as “ecumenism of blood.”

Greeting the participants of the gathering, Pope Francis writes, “I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters,” writes Pope Francis.

“In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our churches and ecclesial communities,” he continues.

Assuring his closeness to those suffering oppression and persecution for their faith, Pope Francis conveyed his hope that today’s martyrs “help us to understand that all the baptized are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church”.

 

The full text of the Message is below

His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch

President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

I extend greetings to you and all those participating in the Global Christian Forum Consultation, to be held in Tirana from 2 to 4 November 2015, as you reflect on the theme “Discrimination, persecution, martyrdom: following Christ together”.

In a particular way, I wish to greet our brothers and sisters of different Christian traditions who represent communities suffering for their profession  of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters. In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities. The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together.

At the same time, your gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation. With these sentiments, I assure you of my spiritual closeness. May the martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church (cf. I Cor 12:12-30). Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding.

From  the Vatican, 1 November 2015

(from Vatican Radio)

 









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