Kochi: Catholicos Moran Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church will meet Pope Francis in Vatican on Thursday. This is the first meeting of the head of the Indian Orthodox Church based at Kottayam with the Pope in 25 years.
The Catholicos will also visit the tomb of apostle Peter and will be received by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, a Vatican release said. The meeting between the two is expected to strengthen the dialogue started between the two churches in 1989.
Pope John Paul II, during his visit to India in 1986, had met Moran Baselios Mar Thomas Mathews I at Elisa Cathedral in Kottayam leading to the formation of the ‘Mixed International Dialogue’ for greater cooperation between the two churches. Prior to this in 1983, Mathews I had called on Pope John Paul II in Vatican. Both churches had also signed the common Christological Declaration in 1990.
The Catholic Church had also initiated a dialogue with the Jacobite Church as well since 1989. “Since 1989, two parallel dialogues have taken place annually with each of the two communities. These dialogues relate to questions on the history of the Church in India, ecclesiology and common witness,” the Vatican release said.