In 1964, a little-noticed albeit pioneering encounter in the Holy Land between the heads of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church spawned numerous contacts and diverse openings between the two "sister churches," which had not communicated with each other for centuries.
Fifty years later, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew meet in Jerusalem to commemorate that historical event and celebrate the close relations that have developed through mutual exchanges of formal visits and an official theological dialogue that began in 1980. This book contains three unique chapters: The first is a sketch of the behind-the-scenes challenges and negotiations that accompanied the meeting in 1964, detailing the immediate consequences of the event and setting the tone for the volume. The second is an inspirational account, interwoven with a scholarly evaluation of the work of the North American Standing Council on Orthodox/Catholic relations over the past decades. The third chapter presents a recently discovered reflection on the meeting that took place fifty years ago by one of the most important Orthodox theologians of the twentieth century, expressing cautious optimism about the future of Christian unity.