Orthodox Look to Resume Talks With Pope
- Orthodox Look to Resume Talks With Pope
Thursday June 30, 2005 5:16 PM
By FRANCES D'EMILIO
Associated Press Writer
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Visiting Orthodox leaders told Pope Benedict XVI
on Thursday that theological dialogue can resume soon, and the
pontiff urged both sides to apply new vigor to efforts to overcome
Benedict received several top churchmen who were sent by Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's 200
million Orthodox, for Wednesday's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to
mark the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Delegation leader Metropolitan John of Pergamon told the pontiff
that Orthodox churches had agreed to nominate two delegates to the
international commission for theological dialogue between the two
``This will allow the resumption of theological dialogue in the near
future, concentrating on crucial ... themes, and in particular on
the primacy'' of the pope, he told Benedict in an address.
The two churches split in 1054 over several questions, including the
primacy issue. More recently, relations have become tense by
Orthodox charges of aggressive Catholic missionary work in eastern
Europe, and by property disputes.
Theological dialogue was interrupted four years ago. Exactly a year
ago, Pope John Paul II and Bartholomew stressed the need to resume
the dialogue aimed at achieving unity.
Benedict told the delegation that so far the ``process of
theological and historic clarification ... has already borne
Benedict seemed eager to seize on his predecessor's enthusiasm for
overcoming differences with the Orthodox.
``We feel the need to unite forces and not spare energies so that
the official theological dialogue, begun in 1980 between the
Catholic church and the Orthodox churches together, resume with
renewed vigor,'' Benedict said.
The commission was announced in 1979 when John Paul paid a call at
the patriarchate's headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, a visit early
in his papacy that marked his determination to improve relations.
The tensions that flared after the downfall of Communist regimes in
eastern Europe in the last 15 years prevented John Paul from
realizing his dream of visiting Russia.