Rome (CWN) - Pope Benedict XVI met on June 28 with a delegation of Orthodox prelates, who were in Rome to join him in celebrating the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Each year the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople sends a delegation to join in the Vatican’s celebration of its patronal feast. In turn the Holy See sends a delegation to participate in ceremonies in Constantinople on the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of that see. This year’s Orthodox delegation was led by Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in France.
In his remarks to the visiting prelates, Pope Benedict observed that the Church is marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, an event that sparked a new era of ecumenism. He saluted the Orthodox leader of that era, Patriarch Athenagoras, who joined with Popes John XXIII and Paul VI to be “proponents of bold initiatives which paved the way for a renewed relationship between the Ecumenical patriarchate and the Catholic Church.”
The Pope went on to say: “It is a cause of special joy to me to note that His Holiness Bartholomew I is following with fresh fidelity and fruitful creativity the way marked out by his predecessors, Patriarch Athenagoras and Patriarch Dimitrios,” in his dedication to ecumenical progress. The Holy Father said he prayed the continuation of that work will enable Catholics and Orthodox “to arrive soon at the blessed day when we will be able to share in the Eucharistic banquet.”