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Turkey is the home of Meryem Ana, the house of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus, to which Popes Paul VI, JPII, BXVI & Francis have all been on pilgrimage.

Blessed Paul VI was a pilgrim to Turkey in 1967, journeying to Istanbul, Ephesus & Smyrna. Saint John Paul II followed in his footsteps in 1979, visiting Ankara, Istanbul & Ephesus. Apostolic journeys have also been made by Papa Benedict XVI in 2006  Pope Francis in 2014.

Papa Benedetto gave catechesis on the Fathers of the Church St Basil the Great, St Ephrem the Syrian, St Gregory of Nazianzus, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Irenaeus of Lyons (Father of the Church), St John Chrysostom (Father of the Church), St Germanus of Constantinople, St Paul the Apostle, St Nicholas (who 'became' Father Christmas), St Theodore the Studite, St Timothy & Symeon the New Theologian (all of whom were from territory now in Turkey)

Here below are responses to Totus2us podcasts given by Turks
- many thanks to you   ♥ 

To download the free mp3 Totus2us audio recordings individually, right/double click on the play buttons 
Oyun düğmeleri tek tek bedava mp3 Totus2us ses kayıtları indirmek için, sağ / çift tıklayın 


"Mother Mary means a very lot to me, this is the Mother of God. She's pure and I pray to her through God for the conversion of sinners."


"What Our Lady means to me - I regard her as my mother, as Jesus' mother. She is the Immaculate Conception, she is the Mediatrix of all graces. I especially love her in Lourdes, I've been going there every year and what I feel there is just indescribable. I feel peace, love and it is all Our Lord's and Our Lady's peace. No matter how crowded it is, you can feel that peace and it's just lovely being there."

If you'd like to give your something about Mary,
please do get in touch with the Totus2us team

- as well as hopefully bringing you joy,
you'd be really helping Totus2us   ♥

Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. - St Louis Marie de Montfort

Saint John Paul II took his motto Totus Tuus from this quote.

"I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.
I accept you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.”

Pope Francis's reflection on his pilgrimage to Turkey
General Audience, Wednesday 3 December 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning.
The weather today does not seem very good, it is not very good .. but you are courageous, and put on a brave face in bad weather. Let us move on! This audience is being held in two places, as we do when it rains: here in the Square and then the sick are in the Paul VI Hall. I have already met them, I greeted them, and they are following the audience on the maxi screen, because they are ill and they cannot come out in the rain. Let us greet them here with a round of applause.

Today I would like to share with you a few things about my pilgrimage, which I made to Turkey from last Friday to Sunday. As I asked you to prepare and accompany it with prayer, now I invite you to give thanks to the Lord for its fulfillment, and that good fruit may spring from the dialogue in our relations with our Orthodox brothers, in those with Muslims, and in the journey toward peace among peoples. I feel, in the first place, the duty to renew the expression of my acknowledgement to the President of the Republic of Turkey, to the Prime Minister, to the President for Religious Affairs and to the other Authorities, who welcomed me with respect and guaranteed the smooth outcome of the events. This requires work, and they did this willingly. I fraternally thank the bishops of the Catholic Church in Turkey, the very capable President of the Bishops’ Conference, and I thank the Catholic communities for their efforts. Likewise, I thank the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew I, for his cordial welcome. From heaven, Blessed Paul VI and St John Paul II, who both went to Turkey, and St John XXIII, who was the pontifical delegate in that nation, protected my pilgrimage, which took place eight years after that of my predecessor Benedict XVI. That land is dear to every Christian, especially for having given birth to the Apostle Paul, for having hosted the first seven Councils, and for the presence, near Ephesus, of the “house of Mary”. Tradition tells us that Our Lady lived there, after the coming of the Holy Spirit.

On the first day of the apostolic journey, I greeted the authorities of the country, Muslim by an overwhelming majority, but whose constitution affirms the laity of the State. And with the authorities, we spoke about violence. It is precisely the oblivion of God, and not his glorification, which generates violence. For this reason I insisted on the importance of Christians and Muslims working together for solidarity, for peace and justice, and affirmed that every State must ensure real freedom of worship to its citizens and to the religious communities.

Today, before going to greet the sick, I was with a group of Christians and Muslims who are holding a meeting organized by the dicastery for interreligious dialogue, chaired by Cardinal Tauran, and they too expressed their desire to pursue this fraternal dialogue among Catholics, Christians and Muslims.

On the second day I visited several symbolic sites of the different religious confessions present in Turkey. I did so with a heart-felt invocation to the Lord, God of heaven and earth, merciful Father of all humanity. The midpoint of the day was the Eucharistic Celebration which saw reunited in the Cathedral the faithful of the different Catholic rites present in Turkey. The Ecumenical Patriarch, the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchal Vicar, the Syro-Orthodox Metropolitan, and Protestant representatives also attended. Together we invoked the Holy Spirit, He who creates unity in the Church: unity in faith, unity in love, unity in interior cohesion. The People of God, with the wealth of its traditions and articulations, is called to allow itself to be led by the Holy Spirit, in a steadfast attitude of openness, of docility and of obedience. On our journey of ecumenical dialogue and also of our unity, of our Catholic Church, He who does all is the Holy Spirit. It is up to us to let Him work, to welcome Him and to follow his inspiration.

The third and final day, the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle, provided the ideal context for reinforcing the fraternal relationships between the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Successor of the Apostle Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, who founded this Church. With His Holiness Bartholomew I renewed the mutual commitment to continue on the path toward reestablishing full communion between Catholics and Orthodox. Together we signed a Common Declaration, a further step on this path. It was particularly meaningful that this act should occur at the end of the solemn Liturgy of the Feast of St Andrew, in which I participated with great joy, and which was followed by the twofold blessing imparted by the Patriarch of Constantinople and by the Bishop of Rome. Prayer is indeed the foundation of every fruitful ecumenical dialogue, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who, as I have said, is the One who creates unity.

The last meeting — this was beautiful and also painful — was that with a group of young refugees, hosted by the Salesians. It was very important for me to meet with some of them from the war zones in the Middle East, both to express to them my closeness and that of the Church, and to underline the value of acceptance, to which Turkey is also deeply committed. I thank Turkey once again for receiving so many refugees and I thank the Salesians in Istanbul from my heart. These Salesians are working with the displaced people, they are good! I also met other priests and a German Jesuit and others who work with refugees but that Salesian oratorium for refugees is a beautiful initiative, it is hidden work. I thank all those people who are working with displaced people. Let us pray for all the displaced people and refugees, that the causes of this painful scourge may be removed.

Dear brothers and sisters, may Almighty and Merciful God continue to protect the Turks, their rulers and the representatives of the various religions. May they build together a future of peace, such that Turkey may be an example of peaceful coexistence among the different religions and cultures. Let us also pray, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that the Holy Spirit render this apostolic journey fruitful and that He promote in the Church missionary fervour to proclaim to all peoples, with respect and in fraternal dialogue, that the Lord Jesus is Truth, Peace and Love. He alone is the Lord."

"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française. Alors que s’achève l’année liturgique, je vous invite à méditer sur la stupéfiante réalité de la vie éternelle à laquelle nous sommes appelés, et à demander le secours de la Vierge Marie pour qu’elle nous aide à y parvenir. Je vous souhaite une sainte entrée dans le temps de l’Avent.  Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Kenya, Nigeria, Canada and the United States. May your stay in the Eternal City confirm you in love for our Lord and his Church. May God bless you all!

Von Herzen grüße ich die deutschsprachigen Pilger und Besucher wie auch die Gruppe von Hörern des katholischen Radiosenders Katholieke Radio Omroep in den Niederlanden. Angesichts des göttlichen Heilsplans werden wir uns bewusst, welch wunderbares Geschenk es ist, zur Kirche zu gehören. Die heilige Gottesmutter Maria wache über uns auf unserem Pilgerweg und führe uns zu ihrem Sohn. Der Herr segne euch alle.

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, Argentina, México, así como a los venidos de otros países latinoamericanos. Conscientes del don maravilloso de pertenecer a la Iglesia, pidamos a la Virgen María, nuestra Madre del cielo, que nos acompañe siempre y nos ayude a ser, como ella, signo gozoso de esperanza para nuestros hermanos. Muchas gracias.

Com grande afecto, saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, com votos de que possais vós todos dar-vos sempre conta do dom maravilhoso que é pertencer à Igreja. Vele sobre o vosso caminho a Virgem Maria e vos ajude a ser sinal de confiança e esperança no meio dos vossos irmãos. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção de Deus.

توجه بتحية مودة إلى جميع المؤمنين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة القادمين من العراق ومن الشرق الأوسط. كثيرا ما يدفعنا العنف والألم وبشاعة الخطيئة إلى التفكير في عدالة الله التي ستكافئ كل إنسان بحسب أعماله. لهذا تشددوا وتشبثوا بالكنيسة وبإيمانكم، فتطهروا هكذا العالم بثقتكم، وتحولوه برجائكم، وتعالجوه بغفرانكم، وبشهادة محبتكم وصبركم! ليبارككم الرب ويعضدكم!

Drodzy Polacy, bracia i siostry, Uroczystość Jezusa Chrystusa Króla Wszechświata przypomniała nam, że wraz z całą wspólnotą Kościoła zdążamy do „nowego nieba” i „nowej ziemi”. Nich nasze życie będzie świadectwem, że w perspektywie tych rzeczywistości, już tu na ziemi, w naszych sercach wzrasta Królestwo prawdy, sprawiedliwości, miłości i pokoju. Niech wszystkich buduje nasza ufność pokładana w Bogu i nadzieja. Z serca wam błogosławię.

* * *

Come sapete, da venerdì prossimo a domenica mi recherò in Turchia in viaggio apostolico. Invito tutti a pregare perché questa visita di Pietro al fratello Andrea porti frutti di pace, sincero dialogo tra le religioni e concordia nella nazione turca.

Porgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Saluto le Suore Missionarie del Catechismo, in occasione del loro Capitolo Generale; i fedeli della Diocesi di Biella e i Silenziosi Operai della Croce. Saluto i membri dell’Eurosolar-Italia e dell’UISP-Sport per Tutti, come pure i bambini di strada di Koinonìa Community. La visita alle Tombe degli Apostoli favorisca in tutti un rinnovato impegno per la pace, con Dio, con i fratelli e con il creato.

Rivolgo uno speciale pensiero ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Domenica prossima inizierà il Tempo liturgico dell’Avvento. Cari giovani, l’attesa del Salvatore riempia il vostro cuore di gioia; cari ammalati, non stancatevi di adorare il Signore che viene anche nella prova; e voi cari sposi novelli, imparate ad amare, sull’esempio di colui che per amore si è fatto uomo per la nostra salvezza."

Papa Benedict's reflections on his apostolic journey to Turkey
Wednesday 6 October 2006 - in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As is the custom after each apostolic journey, at this general audience I would like to retrace the various stages of the pilgrimage I made in Turkey from Tuesday to Friday last week. A visit which, as you know, did not appear easy from various aspects, but which God accompanied from the beginning and which thus enabled it to be realized happily. Therefore, as I had asked you to prepare for it and accompany it with your prayers, I now ask you to join me in thanking the Lord for the way it went and for its conclusion. I entrust to Him the fruits that I hope it will be able to yield, both as regards relations with our Orthodox brethren and our dialogue with the Muslims. I feel it is my duty, first of all, to renew the cordial expression of my gratitude to the President of the Republic, to the Prime Minister and to the other Authorities, who welcomed me so courteously and assured me of the necessary conditions for everything to take place in the best possible way. I then offer my brotherly thanks to the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Turkey, with their collaborators, for all that they did. A special thanks I extend o the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who received me at his home, to the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, to the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Mor Filüksinos and to the other religious Authorities. Throughout the whole journey I felt spiritually supported by my venerable predecessors, the Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II, both of whom made a memorable visit to Turkey, and especially by Bl John XXIII, who was Papal Representative in that noble Country from 1935 to 1944, leaving there memories full of affection and devotion.

Referring to the vision that the Second Vatican Council presented of the Church (cf Constitution Lumen Gentium, 14-16), I would say that the pastoral journeys of the Pope also contribute to realizing her mission which unfolds "in concentric circles". In the innermost circle, the Successor of Peter confirms Catholics in the faith, in the intermediate circle he meets other Christians, in the outer one he turns to non-Christians and the whole of humanity. The first day of my Visit in Turkey was spent within the area of this third "circle", the widest one: I met the Prime Minister, the President of the Republic and the President for Religious Affairs, to whom I addressed my first speech; I paid homage at his Mausoleum to the "Father of the Homeland", Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; I then had the opportunity to speak to the Diplomatic Corps at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ankara. This intense series of meetings constituted an important part of the Visit, especially in consideration of the fact that Turkey is a Country with a very large Muslim majority, governed however by a Constitution that affirms the secularity of the State. It is therefore a Country emblematic in reference to the great challenge at stake today in the world: on the one hand, we must rediscover the reality of God and the public relevance of religious faith, and on the other, we must ensure that the expression of such faith is free, with no fundamentalist degenerations, capable of firmly rejecting every form of violence. I therefore had a favourable opportunity to renew my sentiments of esteem for Muslims and for the Islamic civilization. At the same time, I was able to insist on the importance of Christians and Muslims working together for man, for life, for peace and for justice, reiterating that the distinction between the civil and religious spheres is a value and that the State must assure citizens and religious communities effective freedom of worship. In the context of interreligious dialogue, divine Providence granted me, almost at the end of my journey, a gesture not originally planned, and that proved to be very significant: the visit to Istanbul's famous Blue Mosque. Pausing for a few minutes of recollection in that place of prayer, I addressed the one Lord of heaven and earth, merciful Father of all humanity. May all believers recognize themselves as his creatures and give witness to true brotherhood!

The second day took me to Ephesus, and so I quickly found myself in the innermost "circle" of the journey, in direct contact with the Catholic Community. At Ephesus, in fact, in a pleasant place called the "Hill of the Nightingale", overlooking the Aegean Sea, is the House of Mary. This is a small and ancient chapel, built to contain a cottage which, according to a very old tradition, the Apostle John had built for the Virgin Mary, after taking her with him to Ephesus. It was Jesus himself who entrusted them to each other when, before dying on the Cross, he said to Mary, "Woman, behold your son!" and to John, "Behold your mother!" (Jn 19: 26-27). Archaeological research has shown that this place has from time immemorial been a place of Marian worship, dear also to Muslims, who go there regularly to venerate the One they call "Meryem Ana", Mother Mary. In the garden in front of the Shrine, I celebrated Holy Mass for a group of the faithful who came from the nearby city of Izmir, from other parts of Turkey and from abroad. At the "House of Mary" we truly felt "at home", and in that atmosphere of peace we prayed for peace in the Holy Land and throughout the world. There, I wanted to remember Fr Andrea Santoro, a Roman priest, a witness to the Gospel with his blood on Turkish soil.

The intermediate "circle", that of ecumenical relations, occupied the central part of this journey and took place on the Feast of St Andrew, 30 November. This event offered an ideal context for the consolidation of fraternal relations between the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, a Church founded according to tradition by the Apostle St Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. In the footsteps of Paul VI, who met Patriarch Athenagoras, and John Paul II, who was welcomed by Dimitrios I, Successor of Athenagoras, I renewed this gesture of great symbolic value with His Holiness Bartholomew I, to confirm our reciprocal commitment to persevere on the road towards the re-establishment of full communion between Catholics and Orthodox. To sanction this firm resolution, I signed a Common Declaration with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, which constitutes a further milestone on our path. It was particularly significant that this act took place at the end of the solemn Liturgy for the Feast of St Andrew in which I took part and which ended with the double Blessing imparted by the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople, successors respectively of the Apostles Peter and Andrew. In this way, we showed that at the root of every ecumenical endeavour there is always prayer and the persevering invocation of the Holy Spirit. Likewise in this context, I had the joy of visiting His Beatitude Mesrob II, Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and of meeting the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan. In this context, I am also glad to mention my conversation with the Grand Rabbi of Turkey.

My visit ended, just before departing for Rome, with a return to the innermost "circle", that is my meeting with the Catholic Community present in all its components in the Latin Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul. Also attending this Holy Mass were the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Armenian Patriarch, the Syrian-Orthodox Metropolitan and Representatives of the Protestant Churches. So, gathered together in prayer were all Christians, in the diversity of traditions, rites and languages. Comforted by the words of Christ, who promised believers "rivers of living water" (Jn 7: 38), and by the image of the many members united in one body (cf I Cor 12: 12-13), we lived the experience of a renewed Pentecost.

Dear brothers and sisters, I returned here to the Vatican, with a heart full of gratitude to God and with sentiments of sincere affection and esteem for the inhabitants of the beloved Turkish nation, by whom I felt welcomed and understood. The friendliness and warmth that surrounded me, despite the inevitable difficulties that my visit created for the normal functioning of their daily activities, live on as a vivid memory that inspires me to pray. May the Almighty and Merciful God help the Turkish people, their government leaders and the representatives of different religions to build together a future of peace, so that Turkey may be a "bridge" of friendship and fraternal collaboration between West and East. Let us also pray that, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the Holy Spirit will make this apostolic journey fruitful, and animate throughout the world the mission of the Church, instituted by Christ to proclaim to all peoples the gospel of truth, peace and love."

Pope St John Paul II's reflection on his apostolic pilgrimage to Turkey
General Audience, Wednesday 5 December 1979 - also in French, Portuguese & Spanish

"Serviamo la grande causa dell’Avvento del Signore

1. Il Signore Gesù ha chiamato Andrea per primo fra tutti gli Apostoli. "Egli incontrò per primo suo fratello Simone e gli disse: "Abbiamo trovato il Messia (che significa il Cristo)" e lo condusse da Gesù. Gesù, fissando lo sguardo su di lui, disse: "Tu sei Simone, il figlio di Giovanni; ti chiamerai Cefa (che vuol dire Pietro)"" ( Gv 1,41ss.).

Questo particolare, riportato nel Vangelo secondo San Giovanni, richiedeva da tempo che io mi recassi a far una visita all’antica sede dei Patriarchi a Costantinopoli, che venera, in modo particolare, Sant’Andrea Apostolo; e che io lo facessi proprio il 30 novembre, nel giorno che il calendario liturgico della Chiesa occidentale e orientale collega con il ricordo di colui, che il Signore Gesù ha chiamato per primo. Oggi voglio ringraziare la Provvidenza divina per questa visita, che ho tanto desiderato e che – sotto un particolare soffio di quella eterna Sapienza, adorata durante tanti secoli nella Chiesa sul Bosforo – si è compiuta con un rafforzamento reciproco su quelle strade, alle quali si erano avviati il patriarca Athenagoras I e i miei grandi Predecessori i papi Giovanni XXIII e Paolo VI.

Se è dunque lecito richiamarsi all’analogia che deriva dall’evento evangelico, il successore di Pietro nella Sede romana desidera oggi esprimere la sua soddisfazione per aver sentito il richiamo proveniente dall’Oriente, da quella sede che circonda con una particolare venerazione Andrea, fratello di Pietro, per aver seguito questa chiamata. Grazie a ciò si è trovato, di nuovo, davanti al cospetto di Cristo, che ha confermato la vocazione di Simon Pietro in base al fraterno legame con Andrea.

2. E, ringraziando la Provvidenza divina che, negli ultimi giorni precedenti l’inizio dell’Avvento, volse le mie strade verso l’Oriente, desidero contemporaneamente ringraziare tutti coloro che, come servi di quella Provvidenza, hanno assunto i molteplici compiti umani per rendere possibile questa rilevante visita. Penso particolarmente alle autorità turche, a cominciare dall’illustrissimo Signor Presidente della Repubblica, al Governo e al Ministro degli Esteri. Questa visita ha dato l’opportunità di incontrarmi con loro e di scambiare, con grande utilità, esperienze e idee sui temi così importanti per la convivenza delle Nazioni e dei Paesi in tutto il mondo e, in particolare, in quel punto importante del globo, che è quasi una porta dell’Europa e dell’Asia. Così l’immediata prontezza nel ricevere l’ospite da Roma, come pure la grande sollecitudine per lo svolgimento e la sicurezza di tutto il viaggio, meritano la mia particolare gratitudine, che ancora una volta voglio esprimere in questo momento.

3. Sebbene lo scopo principale della mia visita fosse il "Fanar", sede del Patriarcato ecumenico a Istanbul, tuttavia il recente viaggio mi ha dato l’occasione di incontrarmi anche con la comunità armena nella persona del suo Patriarca Kalustian e dell’Arcivescovo cattolico Tcholakian. Quella Chiesa Armena è impegnata in un intenso dialogo con la Chiesa Cattolica, particolarmente dalla memorabile visita a Roma di Vasken I, che è capo cioè "catholicos" di quella Chiesa, la quale ha il suo centro a Etchmiadzin. La visita ebbe luogo nel maggio del 1970. La Chiesa Armena Cattolica, che è, invece, in piena comunione con la Sede apostolica di Roma, conta in tutto il mondo circa 150.000 fedeli. Anche verso tutta la comunità armena va il mio pensiero e la mia gratitudine. Desidero inoltre ricordare i rappresentanti della comunità ebraica, con i quali ho avuto modo di incontrarmi in occasione della liturgia svoltasi nella cattedrale cattolica latina, dedicata allo Spirito Santo a Istanbul.

4. Considero l’incontro con il Patriarca Dimitrios I come un frutto della particolare azione dello Spirito di Cristo, che è lo Spirito dell’unità e dell’amore. Proprio in tale spirito si è svolto quell’incontro e di tale spirito ha dato testimonianza. Il suo momento culminante è stata la comune preghiera mediante la reciproca partecipazione alla liturgia eucaristica, anche se non abbiamo ancora potuto spezzare insieme il Pane e bere allo stesso Calice. Ciò ha avuto luogo prima nella vigilia di Sant’Andrea, di sera, nella cattedrale latina dello Spirito Santo, dove il Patriarca Dimitrios I è stato con noi (così come anche il Patriarca armeno), e dove abbiamo scambiato solennemente il bacio fraterno di pace impartendo insieme, alla fine, la benedizione. E, in seguito, nella solennità stessa dell’Apostolo nella chiesa patriarcale, dove mi è stato dato, insieme a tutta la Delegazione della Sede Apostolica, di partecipare alla splendida liturgia di San Giovanni Crisostomo, di rinnovare, con la stessa gioia dei radunati, il bacio di pace col mio Fratello della Sede in Oriente, di prendere la parola e, soprattutto, di ascoltare il suo discorso.

Quanto profondo amore egli manifestò per la Chiesa e per la sua unità, che Cristo non cessa di desiderare! Contemporaneamente, quanta sollecitudine, piena di amore, per l’uomo nel mondo contemporaneo! Il grande mistero della "Divinità e dell’umanità", così meravigliosamente approfondito da tutta la tradizione orientale patristica e teologica, è la più grande fonte di questa sollecitudine.

Il Patriarca ha detto: "E la pace e il bene che anche noi desideriamo e cerchiamo, sia per la Chiesa che per il mondo, e noi ci incontriamo allo scopo di ricercare insieme questa santa meta...; durante questo cammino era presente Gesù risorto che camminava con noi...; per questo, avendo in vista la piena comunione e la frazione del pane, noi abbiamo camminato insieme fino ad oggi".

5. Se, dunque, abbiamo il diritto di ripetere con San Paolo "l’amore del Cristo ci spinge" ( 2Cor 5,14), allora oggi questo amore di Cristo assume la particolare forma della sollecitudine per l’uomo e per la sua vocazione nel mondo contemporaneo, tanto promettente ma anche tanto inquietante. E, perciò, insieme al dialogo teologico, già tanto necessario, che deve incominciare nel prossimo futuro tra la Chiesa cattolica e la Chiesa ortodossa nel suo insieme (cioè: con tutte le chiese autocefale ortodosse), è sempre indispensabile il dialogo stesso dell’amore fraterno e del reciproco avvicinamento, che già dura da qualche anno, cioè dai tempi del Concilio Vaticano II. Certo, questo dialogo deve ancora di più rafforzarsi e approfondirsi. Deve trovare sempre nuova espressione esterna. Deve, in un certo senso, divenire una componente integrale dei programmi pastorali da ambedue le parti. L’unione può essere soltanto frutto della conoscenza della verità nell’amore. E tutte e due devono operare insieme, l’una separatamente dall’altra ancora non basta, perché la verità senza l’amore non è ancora la piena verità, come l’amore non esiste senza la verità.

Su questa nuova tappa delle nostre iniziative ecumeniche e dopo le prove del benevolo appoggio che, in occasione della recente visita a Costantinopoli, hanno dato tutti i Patriarchi ortodossi al Patriarca Dimitrios che, come Patriarca "ecumenico", è primo tra gli altri, si può sperare molto.

6. Nel quadro di questo felice incontro sono stati scambiati anche dei doni molto eloquenti. Il Patriarca ecumenico ha offerto al suo Ospite un’antica stola episcopale pensando a quella Eucaristica, che Dio clementissimo forse ci permetterà di celebrare insieme, come hanno desiderato così ardentemente già Papa Paolo VI e il Patriarca Athenagoras. Il dono che ho lasciato a Costantinopoli è una Icona della Genitrice di Dio: Colei con la quale mi sono familiarizzato in Jasna Gora e Czestochowa sin dai primi anni della mia giovinezza. Facendolo, mi sono lasciato guidare non solo da motivi di natura personale, ma soprattutto dalla particolare eloquenza della storia. L’Icona chiaromontana (di Jasna Gora) contiene in sé i tratti sintomatici, che parlano all’anima dell’uomo cristiano dell’Oriente e dell’Occidente. Essa proviene anche da quella terra, nella quale ha avuto luogo, nel corso di tutta la storia, l’incontro di quelle due grandi tradizioni della Chiesa. È vero che la mia Patria ha ricevuto il cristianesimo da Roma e, insieme, anche la grande eredità della cultura latina, ma pure Costantinopoli è diventata la fonte della cristianità e della cultura, nella loro forma orientale, per molti Popoli e Nazioni Slave.

Ho manifestato queste idee già nel corso del mio pellegrinaggio in Polonia del giugno scorso. Così, il nostro incontro al "Fanar" ad Istanbul fu colmo di grandi problemi e di profondi contenuti. Interrogato da uno dei giornalisti circa le "impressioni", ho detto che era difficile parlare a tale proposito. Ed è veramente difficile. Siamo in un’altra dimensione. Siamo e dobbiamo rimanere con lo sguardo fisso su quella effigie della Sapienza, che ci parla dalla cima del grande monumento al Bosforo. È un’effigie dell’Avvento. E anche noi serviamo la grande causa dell’Avvento del Signore.

Bene, se il Signore al suo arrivo ci troverà vigilanti (cf. Mt 24,46).

Per questa intenzione ho pregato in modo particolare tra le rovine di Efeso, dove la Vergine Maria, obbediente nella maniera più profonda e più semplice allo Spirito Santo, fu proclamata solennemente dalla Chiesa: "Theotokos", cioè "Madre di Dio". "