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Orthodox Look to Resume Talks With Pope

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    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2005
      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
      their differences.

      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
      churches.

      ``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
      appreciable fruit.''

      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.
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