“Only prayer, common good works and dialogue can enable us to overcome division and grow closer to one another”. Pope Francis wrote this in his message to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the occasion of the traditional exchange of delegations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church on 29 and 30 November. “The exchange of delegations between Rome and Constantinople on the occasion of the respective feast days honouring the brother apostles Peter and Andrew is a visible sign of the profound bonds that already unite us”, Pope Francis began, who at the end of his General Audience today gave “a big hug” to Bartholomew to mark the fest of the “cousin Church”. The Pope called “a source of real encouragement” for Catholics that at the Great and Holy Council held last June in Crete “the strong commitment to re–establishing the unity of Christians was confirmed” in spite of the “existing difficulties” which have nevertheless never prevented the two Churches from “supporting initiatives which foster encounter and dialogue”. “The history of relations between Christians, however, has sadly been marked by conflicts that have left a deep impression on the memory of the faithful”, Pope Francis recalled. Which is why, he explained, “some cling to attitudes of the past”.