Vatican City (Fides Service) – On the occasion of an Inter-Christian Symposium taking place in Joannina, Epire, Greece, 3-7 September, on the theme: “The relationship between Christian spirituality and dogma in the East and in the West” Pope John Paul II sent a message to Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Unity of Christians, expressing satisfaction for the initiative and underlining the importance of similar events in order to highlight aspects of convergence between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
After reflecting in past years on important themes such as prayer and contemplation this present Symposium focuses on spirituality and doctrine: “Spirituality in fact, affecting the dispositions of the soul and heart, creates a suitable psychological context in which to undertake dialogue with openness and confidence. This is particularly important when Catholics and Orthodox consider matters and problems which still divide them”. The Pope encourages therefore the efforts of the Antonianum College in Rome and the Faculty of Theology in Tessalonika, “aimed at highlighting convergence of Orthodox Christians and Catholics in their adhesion to revealed Truth” and he expresses satisfaction for the support offered to the initiative by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Unity of Christians. “The search for deeper communion between Christianity east and west must not limit itself to official contact and high level initiatives – the Holy Father writes -. Reciprocal knowledge and comprehension are fostered by events such as this involving various contexts of ecclesial life and, in particular, academic and formative ambits. This is a concrete way of promoting a spirit of openness and listening so useful for progress on the path which we hope will quickly lead to full communion”. SL (Fides Service 4/9/2003 EM lines 22 Words: 303)