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Thursday, June 30, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, in a traditional meeting for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, Benedict XVI received a delegation sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople traditionally exchange visits for the feasts of their respective patrons.

  The delegation, which delivered a message to the Holy Father on behalf of the Patriarch, was made up of His Eminence Emmanuel (Adenakis), metropolitan of France and director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; His Eminence Athenagoras (Yves Peckstadt), bishop of Sinope and auxiliary of the metropolitan of Belgium, and Archimandrite Maxime Pothos, vicar general of the metropolitan of Switzerland.

  "Your participation in this our feast day, like the presence of our own representatives in Constantinople for the Feast of the Apostle Andrew, is an expression of the friendship and the authentic fraternity which unites the Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, bonds which are solidly rooted in the faith received from the witness of the Apostles", said the Pope in his remarks to the delegation. "The spiritual intimacy we experience each time we meet causes me profound joy and a sense of gratitude towards God. At the same time, however, the incomplete communion which already binds us must grow until it becomes full visible unity.

  "We are carefully following the progress of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches", he added. "From a purely human perspective, one could get the impression that theological dialogue proceeds with difficulty. The truth is that its rhythm is linked to the complexity of the questions under discussion, which require extraordinary efforts of scholarship, of reflection, of mutual openness. We are called to continue this journey together in charity, asking the Holy Spirit to give us light and inspiration, in the certainty that He wishes to lead us to the complete fulfilment of Christ's will: that all should be one".

  "In a historical context of violence, indifference and selfishness, many men and women of our time feel lost. Yet, with our shared witness of the truth of the Gospel, we can help mankind of our time to rediscover the path that leads to truth. The search for truth always coincides with the search for justice and peace, and it is with great joy that I note the prodigious efforts that His Holiness Bartholomew makes in this area", said the Holy Father.

  He concluded by recalling how, following the example of his predecessor Blessed John Paul II, he had invited "our Christian brethren, exponents of other religious traditions of the world and leading figures of culture and science to join me in Assisi, Italy, on 27 October for a day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world. The theme of the meeting will be: 'Pilgrims in truth. Pilgrims in Peace'. Our walking together in the streets of the town of St. Francis will be a sign of our will to continue along the paths of dialogue and fraternity".
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