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Monday, February 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, FEB 27, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received a group of students - priests and seminarians - from the Theological College of "Apostoliki Diakonia" of the Orthodox Church of Greece, who are currently visiting Rome.

  In a Message consigned to them at the end of their audience with him, the Holy Father writes: "For we Christians of both East and West, at the beginning of the second millennium the forces of evil acted in the divisions that still persist between us today. Nonetheless, over the last 40 years many consoling and hopeful signs have caused us to see a new dawn, that of the day on which we will fully understand that being rooted and founded in Christ's charity means truly finding a way to overcome our divisions through personal and community conversion, listening to others and common prayer for our unity."

  Benedict XVI identifies one of these hopeful signs in the positive development of relations between the Church of Rome and the Greek Orthodox Church. The meeting between John Paul II and His Beatitude Christodoulos, archbishop of Athens and of all Greece, at the Areopagus in 2001 was followed, he writes in his Message, by "initiatives aimed at closer mutual knowledge and at educating the younger generations."

  The Pope also writes of his certainty "that reciprocal charity will nourish our inventiveness and bring us to start down new paths. We must face the challenges that threaten the faith, cultivate the spiritual 'humus' that has nourished Europe for centuries, reaffirm Christian values, promote peace and encounter even in the most difficult conditions, and strengthen those elements of faith and ecclesial life that can lead us to the goals of full communion in truth and charity, especially now as official theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole begins again with renewed vigor."
MESS/CHARITY/GREEK ORTHODOX                    VIS 20060227 (330)

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