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6400Greek Orthodox leader to visit Pope in December

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  • emrys@globe.net.nz
    Nov 4, 2006
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      Greek Orthodox leader to visit Pope in December


      Nov. 03 (CWNews.com) - Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, the ranking
      prelate of the Greek Orthodox Church, will travel to Rome for a meeting with
      Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) in December, officials of the Orthodox Church
      have announced.

      Greece was one of the Orthodox countries in which suspicions of the Catholic
      Church remained most pronounced through the 20th century, and the Orthodox
      Synod was initially reluctant to accept a visit by Pope John Paul II (bio -
      news). But the late Pope disarmed critics when he visited Athens in 2001 and
      issued an apology for the Crusaders' sacking of Constantinople nearly 1,000
      years earlier-- an offense still borne in the memories of the Orthodox
      believers who make up 98% of the Greek population.

      Having made some progress in overcoming Greek hostility, Pope John Paul
      issued an invitation to Archbishop Christodoulos to return his visit. Now
      that the Greek prelate is set for a trip to the Vatican, the Greek Church
      announced, "The Holy Synod expressed its joy that this visit will be carried

      Archbishop Christodoulos will be the first prelate of the Greek Orthodox
      Church to make an official visit to the Vatican since the Great Schism of
      1054. Although he was in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, that was
      not considered an official visit.