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Orthodox patriarch calls on Christians to respect other religions

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  • Al Green
    Orthodox patriarch calls on Christians to respect other religions, says pope did not intend to offend Muslims The Associated Press Published: September 28,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2006
      Orthodox patriarch calls on Christians to respect other religions,
      says pope did not intend to offend Muslims

      The Associated Press

      Published: September 28, 2006


      ISTANBUL, Turkey Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I called on
      Christians to respect other religions and said Thursday he was
      convinced the pope did not intend to offend Muslims with his
      comments about the Prophet Muhammad.

      The patriarch was hosting a group of Vatican-based journalists in
      Istanbul before Pope Benedict XVI's visit here in late November.

      "We don't need to cultivate this confrontation, this enmity,"
      Bartholomew said in touching on the outrage in the Muslim world over
      Benedict's comments. "We need to respect the religious beliefs of
      others."

      Bartholomew, spiritual leader of some 300 million Orthodox
      Christians worldwide, said he was looking forward "with great
      anticipation" to Benedict's visit, and that greater unity between
      Orthodox and Catholic Christians was "for the good of humanity."

      Bartholomew is based in Turkey, a 99 percent Muslim country whose
      leaders have repeatedly called on the pope to offer a personal
      apology for quoting a Medieval-era Byzantine emperor who disparaged
      Islam's prophet and linked his teachings with violence.

      "I repeat with conviction that your pope did not intend to offend
      the Muslim world," Bartholomew told the group in Italian from a
      chamber at the patriarchate in Istanbul. "Naturally, we do not want
      to offend the prophet of our brother Muslims." Bartholomew said
      Christians should understand such an offense in the same way they
      would an offense made against Jesus.

      On Thursday in Rome, the chief negotiator for Turkey's EU membership
      bid said Turks had accepted the pope's expression of regret. "We
      thought the words were unfortunate, but, on the other hand, we (have
      accepted) the pope's corrective attempts," Ali Babacan said.

      The previous day, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called
      Benedict's expressions of regret "maneuvers," and said the president
      would set him straight on Islam when the pontiff visits Turkey.

      Benedict's visit will be his first as pope to a predominantly Muslim
      country. Both Benedict and Bartholomew have said they are committed
      to greater unity among Christians, which will be a key focus of the
      trip.

      Christianity's East-West split began as early as the 5th century
      over the rising influence of the papacy. The split was sealed in
      1054 with an exchange of anathemas - spiritual repudiations -
      between the Vatican and the patriarch of Constantinople, now
      Istanbul, and still the spiritual center of Orthodoxy.

      Catholic and Orthodox dignitaries met in Belgrade earlier this week
      to discuss the process of bringing East and West closer together,
      but produced no breakthrough.

      Orthodox clergymen accompanying Bartholomew said the key issue
      dividing the two churches remained the dispute over the power, or
      primacy, of the pope.

      Metropolitan John of Bergama said Orthodox Christians had to
      overcome their suspicions "that the Roman Catholic church is
      interested in subjecting the Orthodox to the authority of the bishop
      of Rome," or the pope.

      "We have to overcome this psychological difficulty," he said. "There
      must be a kind of reformation ... reformation of the primacy.
      Otherwise we cannot meet."


      http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/28/europe/EU_GEN_Turkey_Orthod
      ox_Catholics.php
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