A joint communique, signed on June 29, 1995 by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Pope John Paul II, stating that "Our Churches are recognized mutually as Sister Churches, responsible together for the preservation of the One Church of God."
Controversy concerning the Balamand Agreement
The Balamand Agreement has been widely protested among conservative Orthodox. The Sacred Communities of Mt. Athos were among the Orthodox groups that protested this statement. The prevailing thought is that until the Western Church is in communion with Orthodoxy, there can be no "Sister Church" status.
From the official publication of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, "Episkepsis," No. 520, July 31, 1995, p. 19