Pope Francis has sent a message to the head of the Bose monastic community to mark the opening of their 25th international ecumenical conference on Orthodox spirituality.
The Bose community, based in northern Italy, was founded in December 1965 on the day that the Second Vatican Council concluded its work. It currently numbers around 80 members, men and women from different Christian Churches, who live a life of prayer, poverty, celibacy and service.
In the message Pope Francis begins by greeting participants at the conference, in particular the Orthodox Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who gave the opening address on Wednesday.
The gift of hospitality
The theme of the four day conference is ‘the gift of hospitality’, which, the pope notes, is a very significant and contemporary topic. We are guests in a world, created for us, which we are called to take care of, he said. But at the same time, we are just passing through this earth because we are also invited guests in the Kingdom of Heaven, where our true citizenship lies.
The importance of this conference is also highlighted in a message from Cardinal Kurt Koch, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who stresses that the question of hospitality is one of the key challenges facing our societies today.
Migration and hospitality
Cardinal Koch recalled the visit of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year, as well as the first meeting of the pope with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Both encounters, he said, stressed how the issues of migration and hospitality are essential themes for ecumenical relationships, in particular between Catholics and Orthodox.