Archbishop Christodoulos will not pray with John Paul II
- LITANY OF GRUDGES AWAITS JOHN PAUL II IN ATHENS
Greek Church Rules Out Joint Prayer
ATHENS, Greece, APR. 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Greek Orthodox Archbishop
Christodoulos will not pray with John Paul II when he visits Athens next
week. But he will lecture the Pontiff about 1,000 years of disputes between
the two Churches, Reuters reported.
"There will be no joint praying whatsoever," the Holy Synod, the Greek
Church's administrative body, announced today after a meeting to discuss
the papal visit.
Instead, Archbishop Christodoulos has been instructed to spell out for the
Pope all Orthodox complaints, many stemming from the Great Schism of 1054,
which resulted in Eastern Churches splitting from Rome.
"(He) will present with honesty, clarity, theological and historical
documentation, all issues of dogma, ecclesiastical and theological, which
cause grief, bitterness and perplexity to the Orthodox world," Holy Synod
spokesman Metropolitan Efstathios told reporters.
John Paul and Archbishop Christodoulos, who have never met, will be
together on three occasions during the May 4-5 visit.
The archbishop helped the Pope realize his dream of retracing the footsteps
of Paul in southern Europe by lifting long-standing Orthodox objections to
the visit last month.
Still, many conservative Orthodox are angered by the Pope's presence in the
country. On Wednesday, hundreds of Orthodox faithful marched through the
streets of Athens to oppose the visit, waving banners reading "Out with the
Pope" and "Two-horned Heretic.."
Some Orthodox bishops and the Union of Greek Clerics have also opposed the
trip, and monks from the all-male Mount Athos community in northern Greece
are staging all-night vigils tonight to pray against the Pope's arrival.
The country's 200,000 Catholics, meanwhile, are rejoicing at the first
visit by a Roman Pontiff to the mostly Orthodox nation of 11 million people
since the schism. "It is a cause for joy and celebration for all of us,"
Greece's Catholic Church said in a statement, Reuters noted. The Pope will
also travel to Syria and Malta, retracing the footsteps of St. Paul.