Benedict XVI received an Orthodox delegation.

Source: FSSPX News

A delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople presided by Bishop Zizioulas Ioannis, metropolitan of Pergamum and President of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox, went to Rome for the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.  Bishop Timothy Ware Kallistos, Greek Orthodox auxiliary bishop of Thyateira and Great-Britain, and the archimandrite Dionysos Papavasileiou were also received. 

The delegation attended the Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on June 29. During his homily Benedict XVI thanked patriarch Bartholomew I for “this token of brotherhood” which “manifests the desire and commitment to progress ever more rapidly towards the full unity which Christ desired for all his disciples”.

“We share”, continued the pope, “the ardent desire once expressed by patriarch Athenagoras and pope Paul VI, viz. to drink together from the same chalice and to partake of the same bread which is the Lord Himself”. “On this occasion we beg again that such a gift be soon granted to us.”

After Mass the sovereign Pontiff granted the Orthodox delegation a private audience: “Answering to the invitation extended by the civil authorities, the patriarchate, and the local Catholic community, I hope soon to be able to make an apostolic pilgrimage in Turkey, a country with a rich and ancient culture, a noble country in which many holy fathers of our ecclesial, theological, and spiritual tradition lived.”

“This will enable me to take part in the celebrations on the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the brother of Saint Peter”, following in the footsteps of popes Paul VI and John Paul II, added Benedict XVI. For me it will be “a joy to meet His Holiness Bartholomew I” because “I am sure that this mutual exchange will strengthen the bonds of ecclesial brotherhood and make smooth the path for collaboration in our common endeavors”. I pray the Lord to “help us to go forward with renewed confidence to reach the day when we can celebrate together the Holy Eucharist of the Lord, token of full communion”.

“I am grateful to you for coming here to join your prayer to ours, inspired by a common commitment to continue on the way which leads us to the progressive elimination of any dissonance in the choir of the one Church of Christ”.

On Sunday, July 2nd, after the Angelus, the sovereign pontiff greeted Alexis II, patriarch of Moscow, and the participants at the Summit of Religious Leaders, which took place in Moscow from July 3rd to 5th (see The Church in the World – Russia: Summit of Religion Representatives in Moscow). “This significant meeting of so many religious representatives in the world points to the common desire to promote dialogue between the civilizations and the quest for a more just and peaceful global order”, with the hope that “thanks to the earnest commitment of all, veritable areas of collaboration may be found, with respect and mutual understanding, so as to meet the present challenges”.