...and prayed with Patriarch Bartholomew 1st

Source: FSSPX News


Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew 1st of Constantinople prayed together in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, at the end of the audience the pope had granted him on March 6. The private audience, which lasted some thirty minutes, took place on the occasion of the Orthodox Patriarch’s visit to Rome to attend the celebrations for the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he was a student between 1963 and 1968.

The day before, a high official from the Patriarchate of Moscow, in strained relationship with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, had stated that Orthodox should not pray with faithful of other Christian denominations.

In the small Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI and Bartholomew 1st prayed silently side by side, then they said together the Our Father and the Hail Mary in Latin, and blessed each other in the presence of an Orthodox delegation from the Patriarchate of Constantinople and of Cardinals Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. This meeting took place after that of Naples, on the occasion of Benedict XVI’s visit to that city on October 21, 2007 (see DICI n° 164). For his part, Bartholomew 1st had received the pope at Phanar, the See of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in Istanbul (Turkey) on November 30, 2006.

On this past March 4, Cardinal Kasper had spoken of “very relaxed” relationships between Rome and Constantinople. He had said that the meetings with representatives of that Orthodox Patriarchate were like meetings “between friends, and thanks to that,” he had added, “we can go forward.” “Ecumenism is not merely a matter of documents, but (…) also of relations between persons,” something he considered as “important” especially “in time of crisis.”

Benedict XVI has invited Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew 1st to take part in the Bishops’ Synod on the Eucharist, scheduled in Rome from October 5 to 26, 2008. According to Asia News Agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, the Patriarch of Constantinople would even have been invited by the pope to address the assembly of bishops. On the other hand, Bartholomew 1st might come back to Rome already next June 29, to lead the delegation from the Patriarch of Constantinople on the occasion of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. (Sources: Apic/Imedia/Osservatore Romano)