Pope Francis has sent a handwritten message to Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, full of well-wishes for his name day.
The feast day of the apostle St. Bartholomew is celebrated in the Oriental Churches on 11 June.
“May Catholics and Orthodox continue on the path towards full communion, working together to promote peace, cooperation, and dialogue at all levels,” the Pope wrote.
Recalling their recent trip to Egypt, Pope Francis wrote of their shared “conviction that the witness offered by Christians of their ever-greater fraternal bonds will be a sign of hope and consolation for the whole world”.
Addressing the Patriarch as his “dear brother in Christ”, the Pope recalled the words of an Orthodox hymn.
“To the Church thou hast appeared as a great daystar; with thy teachings as thy rays and beams of awesome miracles, thou hast enlightened those praising thee, the Lord’s Apostle, O sacred Bartholomew.”