Holy Father Pope Francis met Metropolitan Rastislav, head of the Orthodox Church in the Czech and Slovak Republics. In his words to the Holy Father, Metropolitan Rastislav compared the two Church leaders to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who only recognized Jesus when he broke bread with them. Metropolitan said, ‘While we are still unable to break the Bread of Life together, we remain fellow disciples who walk together as pilgrims on the way.”

As reported by Vatican news, In his response to the Orthodox leader, His Holiness Pope Francis recalled the legacy of the 9th century Apostles of the Slavs, Saints Cyril and Methodius, whom Saint John Paul II proclaimed co-patrons of Europe in honour of their evangelising mission. Holy Father Pope Francis noted that the Apostles Cyril and Methodius had the audacity to translate the Gospels into a language that was accessible to people in the region, known then as Great Moravia. His Holiness remarked that “The brothers remain for us today a model of evangelization, he said, since it is not enough to stick to our set way of doing things, but rather we should listen to the Spirit who inspires us with new ways of translating the Gospel message for contemporary women and men. That includes people living in traditionally Christian countries which are often marked by secularisation and indifference.”

Holy Father Pope Francis concluded his remarks by reminding that “Saints Cyril and Methodius were able to overcome divisions between Christian communities of different cultures and traditions, becoming therefore authentic precursors of ecumenism”.