Indifference in regard to Christian unity is not an option for the disciples of Jesus, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated in an encyclical issued on the occasion of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, commemorated this year on February 21, 2010.
"It is not possible for the Lord to agonize over the unity of His disciples and for us to remain indifferent about the unity of all Christians," Bartholomew wrote in the encyclical, according to the Ekklesia website.
The encyclical refutes "fanatical" challenges brought against theological dialogues among different Orthodox churches and against ecumenical contacts with the wider community of Christians by "certain circles that exclusively claim for themselves the title of zealot and defender of Orthodoxy."
"The truth does not fear dialogue, because truth has never been endangered by dialogue," the encyclical letter states. "When in our day all people strive to resolve their differences through dialogue, Orthodoxy cannot proceed with intolerance and extremism."