Despite differences between Catholics and Orthodox Christians, His Holiness Pope Francis said the two communities are called to be a sign of hope by working together for peace, human dignity and care of creation. The Pontiff’s message was read Friday morning by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, at a Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey on the feast of St. Andrew.

As reported by Vatican news, the Pontiff said in the message that “We can work together today in the search for peace among peoples, for the abolition of all forms of slavery, for the respect and dignity of every human being and for the care of creation.”   His Holiness Pope Francis said, “united we give a more effective response to the needs of so many men and women of our own time, especially those who suffer from poverty, hunger, illness and war.”

The Pontiff concluded the message by highlighting that “In a world wounded by conflict, the unity of Christians is a sign of hope that must radiate ever more visibly.”