Pilgrim for unity (1960)

The journey that La Pira made to Mediterranean countries in 1960 to prepare for the Second Colloquio Mediterraneo occurred in the time between when the Ecumenical Council was announced and when it actually began.

The objectives that La Pira set himself, therefore, are those that the Council had set as priority seeing that it was preparing itself in a way for unification of the Churches (meaningful were the meetings with the Orthodox Patriarchs):

(…) Friday evening Patriarch Atenagora was saying to me “we Patriarchs need to go the Holy Father. The time is nigh for us all to go forward united – now at this essential point of world history”. He then added: “fuit homo missus a Deo cui nomen erat Iohannes! ” . And he said to me: “Tell the Holy Father. We wish for him to receive us. This hour is of much greatness. And he said – give him these sweetmeats – they are a sign and a commitment of love for Him”.

On the other hand, La Pira outlined the importance of the dialogue between the three great monotheistic religions:


(…) Egypt is a mirror that reflects all the basic problems of the Church and the nations in miniature.

These problems can be synthesized as follows:

1) peace in the nations (of the Mediterranean and of the world);

2)social, political and cultural furtherance of peoples;

3) unification of the Church;

4) organic – non mechanical unification of the Arab nations;

5) convergence of the three Mediterranean cultures: Christian, Islamic, Jewish.

I raised these problems in this order with Nasser in the long warm and concrete conversation (lasting one and a half hours) on Thursday (St. Agnes’ day) with him


La Pira kept the Pope fully abreast of all his conversations.

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