During the papal audience, Archbishop Musa presented Pope Francis with the gift of a chalice and paten, crafted for the occasion by the brothers of the ecumenical Community of Taizé. The glaze for the Eucharistic vessels was made with sand taken from the refugee camp in Za’atari, Jordan, where the Lutheran World Federation has been working since 2012 to support Syrian refugees, internally displaced people and host communities. This gift, Archbishop Musa told Pope Francis, “represents our calling to be one.”
In his address, Pope Francis thanked the Lutheran leaders for the gifts which, he said “evoke our sharing in the Lord’s passion.” He continued: “Let us continue, then, with passion on our journey from conflict to communion.”
The Augsburg Confession is the primary confession of faith for Lutheran churches around the globe. Initially, it was presented as an ecumenical confession at the Diet of Augsburg on 25 June 1530 in an effort to restore religious and political unity within the church.
In his address, Pope Francis also noted that the Confession originally “represented an attempt to avoid the threat of a division in Western Christianity,” saying he hoped that “shared reflection” as we move towards 2030 “may benefit our ecumenical journey.”
Reflecting on that journey, he stated: “Ecumenism is not an exercise of ecclesial diplomacy but a journey of grace. It depends not on human negotiations and agreements, but on the grace of God, which purifies memories and hearts, overcomes attitudes of inflexibility and directs towards renewed communion: not towards reductive agreements or forms of irenic syncretism, but towards a reconciled unity amid differences.”