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Orthodox Patriarch Taking a Step toward Unity with Rome

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Published by Zenit, June 9, 2002 Orthodox Patriarch Taking a Step toward Unity with Rome Celebrates Divine Liturgy in Ravenna; Plans to Sign Declaration with
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 19, 2002
      Published by Zenit, June 9, 2002
      Orthodox Patriarch Taking a Step toward Unity with Rome

      Celebrates Divine Liturgy in Ravenna; Plans to Sign Declaration with Pope

      VATICAN CITY, June 9, 2002 (Zenit) -- A step toward full unity between
      Catholics and Orthodox was taken when, for the first time in a millennium,
      a patriarch of Constantinople celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the
      Byzantine basilica of Ravenna.

      John Paul II, at the Vatican, applauded today's event, which he said helps
      "encourage us to continue on the road toward full unity between the
      Christian East and West."

      For the first time since the schism of 1054, an Orthodox patriarch of
      Constantinople celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Basilica of
      Sant'Apollinare in Classe in the northern Italian city. The mosaics
      embellishing the walls of the sixth-century structure are considered some
      of the greatest expressions of Byzantine art.

      In his homily, Patriarch Bartholomew I expressed his hope that the event
      would be a harbinger of better relations between Catholics and Orthodox.

      He didn't hide the difficulties felt in theological dialogue, but he urged
      confidence in God, who desires unity among all his children.

      "Affirming the truth, we also dialogue in love, we pray and we hope for the
      magnificent day, blessed by God, in which spiritual communion between the
      Churches will be restored," said the Orthodox leader.

      Ravenna has been a stopover for a cruiser that has been sailing the
      Adriatic Sea since Wednesday, as part of an environmental-protection
      initiative of the patriarch.

      Aboard are religious leaders, including Cardinals Walter Kasper, president
      of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Roger
      Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and
      Peace, who are reflecting on how to protect the environment, particularly
      the Adriatic.

      On Monday, the cruiser Festos Palace is due to arrive in Venice, where
      Bartholomew I will sign a declaration on protecting the environment. At the
      same time, John Paul II will sign at the Vatican. The events will be linked
      by a television connection.

      In his Angelus address at the Vatican, the Pope explained that the signing
      "is another example of that sharing of intentions, which is the prelude to
      a renewed and full communion."

      "Ravenna and Venice challenge us with their same history, and encourage us
      to continue on the road toward full unity between the Christian East and
      West," the Pope said
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