Friday, June 26, 2009

Orthodox delegation to visit Rome next week

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2009 ( - Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I will send a delegation to Rome to celebrate the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul with Benedict XVI, and to close the Year of St. Paul.

The visit reciprocates the habitual exchange of delegations for the respective patronal feasts in which the patriarch of Constantinople sends a delegation to Rome on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and St. Paul, and the Pope sends a delegation to Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 30, the feast of St. Andrew.

In November 2006, Benedict XVI led the delegation himself, and last June Bartholomew I led the Orthodox delegation to Rome, which coincided with the opening of the Pauline Jubilee Year.

The patriarch's delegation will be let by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the Office of the Orthodox Church Before the European Union.

The delegation will participate in vespers June 28, presided over by Benedict XVI at St. Paul Outside the Walls, which will also mark the end of the Year of St. Paul.

On Monday, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the delegation will participate in the Mass celebrated by the Pope in St. Peter's, during which the Holy Father will bestow the pallium on the 34 archbishops who have been named this year.

Also on the agenda are meetings with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and a private audience with Benedict XVI.

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