July 7 is also the anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who passed away in 1972. Remembering his predecessor, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that "he created the Ecumenical Movement for our Patriarchate, he contracted relations with Rome, with the World Council of Churches, with all the Inter-Christian organizations, and showed the good disposition of Orthodoxy to dialogue with every man of good will, hence revealing that we do not fear dialogue, while believing that we possess the Truth."
After greeting various Orthodox and Catholic theologians who were in attendance, the Patriarch further said: "We Orthodox believe that on the foundation of the indivisible Church of the first millennium we can find a sure way to come together and unite. The Church which was founded by Christ, the Church of the Symbol of Faith, at no point in time lost its unity. We Christians are divided and want to unite in the visible unity of the Church. For this we struggle and uphold fervently Theological Dialogue between Rome and Orthodoxy, because it is not only a dialogue between Rome and New Rome, that is Constantinople, but a dialogue between Elder Rome and World Orthodoxy."