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|Ioannes Paulus PP. II|
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3. A Pope, son of a Slav people, is particularly moved by the call of those peoples to whom the two saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius went. They were a glorious example of apostles of unity who were able to proclaim Christ in their search for communion between East and West amid the difficulties which sometimes set the two worlds against one another. Several times I have reflected on the example of their activity,(6) also addressing those who are their children in faith and culture.
These considerations now need to be broadened so as to embrace all the Eastern Churches, in the variety of their different traditions. My thoughts turn to our brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches, in the wish that together we may seek the strength of an answer to the questions man is asking today in every part of the world. I intend to address their heritage of faith and life, aware that there can be no second thoughts about pursuing the path of unity, which is irreversible as the Lord's appeal for unity is irreversible. "Dearly beloved, we have this common task: we must say together from East and West: Ne evacuetur Crux! (cf. 1 Cor 1:17). The cross of Christ must not be emptied of its power because if the cross of Christ is emptied of its power, man no longer has roots, he no longer has prospects: he is destroyed! This is the cry of the end of the 20th century. It is the cry of Rome, of Moscow, of Constantinople. It is the cry of all Christendom: of the Americas, of Africa, of Asia, of everyone. It is the cry of the new evangelization."(7)
I am thinking of the Eastern Churches, as did many other Popes in the past, aware that the mandate to preserve the Church's unity and to seek Christian unity tirelessly wherever it was wounded was addressed to them. A particularly close link already binds us. We have almost everything in common;(8) and above all, we have in common the true longing for unity.
6 Cf. Apostolic Letter Egregiae Virtutis (December 31, 1980): AAS 73 (1981), 258 - 262; Encyclical Letter Slavorum Apostoli (June 2, 1985), 12 - 14: AAS 77, (1985), 792 - 796
7 Address after the Way of the Cross, Good Friday (April 1, 1994), 3: AAS 87, (1995), 88.
8 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 14 - 18.
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