by Massimo Faggioli | български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски
The papal trip to Cyprus and Greece (December 2-6, 2021) showed Francis’ attention to the Mediterranean, which was also the focus of his first trip (Lampedusa in July 2013), but also his attention to Eastern Orthodoxy as a traveling companion to a Catholic Church increasingly subject to identitarian and nationalist tensions in Europe and worldwide.
There were different and interrelated dimensions to this trip. There was the ecumenical dimension, with the privileged attention to the Eastern Orthodox churches in continuity with the key partnership (since 2013) between Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. There was the humanitarian dimension, with the Holy See devoting much energy to raising attention on multiple crises on multiple fronts in the area, adding to the long-standing migration from Africa to Europe. In the last decade, the degradation of the security, social-economic, and environmental situation in many countries facing the western, central, and eastern Mediterranean has made the mare nostrum the bottleneck in the flow of human beings fleeing from wars and failed or semi-failed states in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. There was the political dimension, with Francis as the outspoken opponent of nationalisms and populism now coming to Greece, the birthplace of democracy (albeit not liberal and constitutional democracy), calling Europe and the international community to their moral responsibilities. Far in the background, there was finally the ecclesial, intra-Catholic dimension, which for Francis must refer always to what Catholics do ad extra.Continue reading