Yearning for Unity

Archbishop Cordileone presides over Solemn Vespers; Metropolitan Gerasimos offers homily to recognize the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

By Peter Marlow

January 2024 commemorates the 60th anniversary of the historic, break-through meeting in Jerusalem on the slopes of the Mount of Olives between Pope St. Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. This meeting provided a catalyst for open dialogue toward hopeful restoration of full communion between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

That tradition continued on January 25 during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity under the 2024 theme of “You shall love the Lord your God … and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10:27) 

For the 18th year, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Gerasimos led Solemn Vespers together at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Redwood City in observance of this special week of prayer.

Bringing Catholic and Greek Orthodox faithful together in prayer for unity fosters mutual understanding and echoes the spirit of Pope St. Paul VI’s call to “Let fall the barriers” and realize Jesus’ prayer to His Father “…that they may all be one…that they may be brought to perfection as one…” (Jn 17:21-23)

In his homily, Metropolitan Gerosimos shared his thoughts on this special opportunity to come together as Christian brothers and sisters and share in fellowship.

“Each of us also has learned from the other,” he said. “Many Orthodox Christians have benefited from the writings of “western” fathers and thinkers, from Augustine to Ratzinger, and simultaneously, many Roman Catholic Christians have benefited from the writings of “eastern” fathers and thinkers, from Chrysostom to Zizioulas. From our study and dialogue, we continually recognize the faith and life of the so-called ‘other,’ finding that we are on a journey in time and space towards the kingdom of God and that journey will be best traveled as we travel it together and as one.”

Click here to read Metropolitan Gerasimos’ homily.

The Solemn Vespers were livestreamed for those unable to attend in person:

Peter Marlow is the exceutive director of communications for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.