JERUSALEM — Pope Francis pursued peace of both body and soul here Sunday, inviting the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to the Vatican to pray for peace and later embracing his own estranged Christian brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Representatives of the president of Israel and the Palestinian Authority said they would accept Francis’ offer, although it was questionable how productive the event could be. The Israeli presidency is largely ceremonial.
That done, Francis met Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians in more than a dozen Eastern Orthodox churches. Praying together at the traditional site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, each promised to continue work on healing the divisions that split Christianity between East and West 1,000 years ago.