Holy Father Pope Francis received the members of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. In greetings to the Commission, His Holiness Pope Francis thanked God “for today’s signing of the Joint Declaration.” And also emphasized one aspect of the new Joint Declaration, where the sign of the cross is referred to as “an explicit symbol of unity among all sacramental celebrations.

As reported by en.radiovataicana.va, His Holiness Pope Francis remarked that “When we look at the cross or make the sign of the cross, we are also invited to remember sacrifices endured in union with Jesus and to remain close to those who today bear a heavy cross upon their shoulders.” Further, His Holiness added, “The Assyrian Church of the East, along with other Churches and many of our brothers and sisters in the region, is afflicted by persecution and is a witness to brutal acts of violence perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist extremism.”

 Holy Father Pope Francis exhorted the members that “We can look to the future with even greater confidence and I ask the Lord that your continuing work may help bring about that blessed and long-awaited day when we will have the joy of celebrating, at the same altar, our full communion in Christ’s Church.”