Week of prayers in memory of the “historic meeting”

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Week of prayers in memory of the “historic meeting”

Fr. Rif’at Bader—Amman

In memory of the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, and amid the announcement of the expected meeting between the successor of Paul VI and the successor of Athenagoras, Patriarch Bartholomew, we mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25), which carries a title that makes believers ponder, regardless of their location or affiliation.

“Is Christ divided,” Saint Paul addressed Corinthians (Corinthians 1:13) at a time when divisions were not as severe as they are nowadays. Paul raised a hue and a cry enquiring as we do at present: “O faithful, is Christ divided?”

It is not suitable now to discuss the causes leading to the regrettable fragmentation and schism which is gaping despite the frequent initiatives for unity and harmony among the various components of the one Church – which we insist on calling it one.

Hopes are pinned on a bright future-- which is termed in Christianity as: "Living in Hope"-- without falling into the clutches of despair which is referred to in law terms as “status quo” regardless of being uneasy and discouraging.
A look at the past year and the new year.
Last year witnessed several initiatives, including the participation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the successor to Andrew, for the first time in a Mass marking the for the beginning of the PETRINE MINISTRY of Pope Francis, the successor of St. Peter, and the overture shown by the new Pope towards the various churches.

Furthermore, what is encouraging is the overture and humility that characterizes the Coptic Pope of Alexandria Tawadros II who also visited the Vatican in an atmosphere dominated by sincere fraternity, where an announcement was made to assign May 10 of every year as a Day of Fraternal Love between the two sisterly Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church.
What is painful but encouraging is the Christian solidarity worldwide towards two main issues: firstly peace and prayer to achieve it, and secondly repeated calls for the release of two bishops still in the hands of kidnappers. These two issues gained broad interest which united churches through prayers, marches and joint statements.
A bird’s eye view on the new year, and awaiting a warm meeting between fraternal "Peter and Andrew," we hope that Pope Francis will disclose a surprise as fifty years ago the warm welcome was a surprise. After half a century, we have to further wishes, or dreams and prayers for mere shaking of hands, dialogue and hugs are no longer enough.

There is something that is more impressive and holier, for why, for example, a joint Mass is not celebrated by the heads of all the Churches at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in front of the empty tomb? Why don’t we see them celebrate communion together… are we asking for something impossible???
O faithful, dream with us, for dreaming is rightful and so many dreams come true through prayers and supplication…. Yes we have a dream … why not?

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