Following their prayer together in Jerusalem, AsiaNews is reporting that Pope Francis and Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople will call together an ecumenical council to meet in Nicaea in 2025.
Nicaea, now known as Iznik, southeast of Istanbul was the sight of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD where the Roman Emperor Constantine I convened bishops in an effort to gain consensus on key teachings and beliefs of the church. The First Council came to agreement on such issues as the nature of the Son of God and his relationship to God the Father. The Council also established the observance of Easter and early canon law.
Bartholomew told AsiaNews, "we agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries , the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated".
The Huffington Post reports that R. Andrew Chesnut, a professor of Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the meeting will lend support to Middle Eastern Christians as well as work at improving Roman Catholic-Orthodox relations. Chesnut said, "Both Francis and Bartholomew are not only motivated by the cause of ecumenism but also by forming a united front against the persecution of Christianity in the Middle East where the number of Catholics and Orthodox have dwindled over the past couple decades."
Bartholomew I attended the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis, the first time the Ecumenical Patriarch had attended such an event since the Catholic-Orthodox split in 1054.