MESSAGE OF JOHN PAUL II
To His Holiness Bartholomaios I
"Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (II Jn 1,3).
It is with the Apostle John's blessing, that I greet you, Your Holiness, as well as all the members of the Holy Synod and all the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on this joyful occasion of the feast of St Andrew, the Apostle and Brother of Peter. The delegation led in my name by our Brother, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will assure the fraternal participation of the Church of Rome. She joins you to implore from the Lord "the stability of the holy Churches of God and union among all" (Liturgy of St John Chrysostom).
The Feast of St Andrew, the first Apostle to be called by Jesus, constantly reminds us of the mystery of the Christian vocation and the duty to announce the Good News: "One of the two who heard John speak and followed [Jesus] was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother" (Jn 1,40). The Christian vocation is intrinsically linked to the recognition of the Messiah, designated by the Baptist: "Behold, the Lamb of God!" (Jn 1,36) whom the Apostles will never cease to proclaim by their words and deeds, by their lives, and even by martyrdom, as Peter and Andrew did.
Thank you for your generosity in being ready to cooperate with the Church of Rome
The Catholic Church is ready to do all in her power to promote the development of relations with the Orthodox Churches. The difficulties that the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue has encountered in recent years must be analyzed and resolved. The dialogue must recover its initial positive spirit and be prompted by the will to solve the real problems. It must also show signs of an enthusiasm that only theological faith and hope can foster.
With the approach of the Feast of the Apostle St Andrew, before the festal observance, let us pray together to the Lord and make our own the invitation that, in his Second Epistle, St John addresses to the Christians of Asia Minor: let us "love one another" (II Jn 1,5). Thus we will continue on in love and truth. And peace will be with us.
With this hope, and with my prayers for all the members of your Patriarchate, I exchange the kiss of peace with Your Holiness, and I assure you of my brotherly affection.
From the Vatican, 22 November 2001.
JOHN PAUL II