VATICAN CITY — Responding to media reports that Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople plan to meet for an ecumenical gathering in Nicaea in 2025, the Vatican's spokesman said such a meeting would be a positive encounter.
Father Federico Lombardi told CNA that a meeting between the pope and patriarch at the site of the Church’s first ecumenical council “is a nice proposal from Bartholomew, just as his proposal for an encounter on the 50th anniversary meeting between Paul VI and Athenagoras I was.”
Nicaea is located within the modern city of Iznik, Turkey. The potential meeting would mark the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea of 325, the first worldwide gathering of all the bishops of the Church after religious tolerance was granted in the Roman Empire. The council rejected the Arian heresy and produced the original Nicene Creed, which taught that Jesus Christ is fully divine, just as God the Father, and not a created being.
Discussion about the upcoming meeting began after Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew met and prayed together at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem during their historic visit to the Holy Land last week.
Father Lombardi added that there are no further details at this time, but if Bartholomew I says that he and the Pope have spoken about it, then “it’s something they’ve just spoken about amongst themselves at this point.”
He said, “I wish good things for ecumenism.”