Congratulations to my Catholic brothers and sisters on the election of their new Pope. This is a joyous day for Catholics and a proud day for Latin America. My prayers are with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. St. Fancis of Assissi is one of my spiritual heroes! So I rejoice to see that this new Pope is committed to following the example of St. Francis, prioritizing the poor and urging us to seek God with humility, love, and compassion for all people. As an Orthodox Christian, I certainly recognize that there are some serious doctrinal differences between Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism. But I truly believe that where Christ is preeminent, where the gospel is preached, and where the Nicene Creed is professed, there is indeed a Christian brotherhood – even though that brotherhood is imperfect and yet fully realized. But as I observe the joy and optimism of my Catholic brethren today, I rejoice with them and share their hope that Pope Francis will be a force for good and a stalwart defender of those ancient Christian values upon which true compassion, authentic justice, and real humanity are predicated.
May God grant Pope Francis many years!