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Monday, June 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Pope today received in audience the members of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who have come to Rome for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles.

  The delegation, sent by His Holiness Bartholomew I, is composed of His Eminence Gennadios (Limouris), metropolitan of Sassima, joint secretary of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and vice moderator of the central committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland; His Eminence Bartholomaios (Ioannis Kessidis), bishop of Arianzos, assistant to the metropolitan of Germany, and Deacon Theodoros Meimaris of the patriarchal see of Fanar.

  At the start of his English-language address to the group, the Holy Father rendered thanks unto God "that the relations between us are characterised by sentiments of mutual trust, esteem and fraternity, as is amply testified by the many meetings that have already taken place in the course of this year".

  "All this gives grounds for hope that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue will also continue to make significant progress", he added.

  Referring to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, the Pope noted how it is now "at a crucial point, having begun last October in Paphos to discuss the 'The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium'. With all our hearts we pray that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the members of the commission will continue along this path during the forthcoming plenary session in Vienna, Austria, and devote to it the time needed for thorough study of this delicate and important issue. For me it is an encouraging sign that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod of Constantinople share our firm conviction of the importance of this dialogue".

  Benedict XVI then noted how the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, due to be held in October, will dedicate particular attention to "the theme of ecumenical co-operation between the Christians of that region". And he highlighted the fact that that "the difficulties that the Christians of the Middle East are experiencing are in large measure common to all: living as a minority, and yearning for authentic religious freedom and for peace. Dialogue is needed with the Islamic and Jewish communities".

  "In this context I shall be very pleased to welcome the fraternal delegation which the Ecumenical Patriarch will send in order to participate in the work of the Synodal Assembly", the Pope concluded.
AC/ VIS 20100628 (430)

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