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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-29

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Pope, Patriarch appeal for unity

  • [01] Pope, Patriarch appeal for unity

    ROME (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Sunday joined Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican basilica, where he delivered the homily at a Mass for the feasts of Saints Peter and Paul, the patronal feast of the Rome diocese. The service, which also marks the start of the Catholic Church's Pauline Jubilee Year, culminated with a joint appeal by Pope and Patriarch to strive for the unity of their two Churches.

    The Mass also included other gestures of great symbolic significance, such as when Bartholomew joined Pope Benedict in reciting the Nicene Creed and when they delivered the final blessing together.

    Bartholomew had earlier attended the Vespers service in Rome's St. Paul's Basilica Outside the Walls on Saturday evening, where the Pope proclaimed the start of the Pauline Year and hoped that the celebration of the 2000th birth anniversary of St. Paul the Apostle will help all Christians to renew their ecumenical duty and intensify common initiatives in the path to full communion.

    Patriarch Bartholomew, who is taking part in services for the Vatican's patronal feast day for the second time, was warmly applauded by the congregation in St. Peter's basilica and the faithful gathered outside in St. Peter's Square. He spoke in Italian, stressing both the significance of the feast day but also of his own participation in the services.

    Bartholomew had entered the packed basilica surrounded by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, where Pope Benedict was waiting to receive him. The two Church leaders then mounted a specially constructed altar in the centre of St. Peter's where they conducted the Mass.

    The Patriarch then moved to another part of the basilica, from where he watched Pope Benedict deliver the Holy Eucharist, rejoining him for the remainder of the service.

    During their sermon to the faithful, Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict stressed a message of unity of all Christians and the progress made in the dialogue begun more than 60 years ago by Ecumenical Patriarch Athinagoras and Pope John II.

    These issues were also discussed during a private meeting between the Pope and Patriarch in the Vatican, as well as a meeting between the two official delegations. During these talks, the two sides presented new ideas for future initiatives that will improve on the progress already made, sources within the Patriarchal delegation said.

    Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI embrace in greeting within St. Peter's basilica in The Vatican, where they later recited the Nicene Creed together in Greek during a Mass for the feast of the apostles Saint Peter and Paul, marking the start of the Pauline Jubilee Year, on Sunday. ANA-MPA - Dimitris Panagos.

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