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The new Pope will visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul

20 March 2013 / 21:03:11  GRReporter
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The newly elected Pope Francis I has been invited to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew extended the invitation during a meeting between the two leaders of the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
The official invitation is expected to be sent through the diplomatic channels provided. Bartholomew has also proposed to the Pope that they visit Jerusalem together on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras at the time and Pope Paul VI, which was held in January 1964. It took place in Jerusalem and was the first meeting between the leaders of the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church since 1439. It repealed a mutual anathema, which Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I Cerularius had exchanged in 1054, and a Joint Declaration was signed at it.

According to informed sources, Pope Francis I has accepted both invitations with particular satisfaction. His predecessor at the Holy See - Benedict XVI, visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2006, a year after he was elected Pope. He attended the Orthodox Liturgy, which was celebrated at the Patriarchal Church in Istanbul.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended the inauguration of the new Pope and the Gospels were read only in Greek in his honour. The evening before the ceremony, Francis and Bartholomew had dinner together and their conversations lasted about three hours. They discussed the opportunities for joint activities to protect the environment and for opening together the exhibition dedicated to Mount Athos, which will take place in Rome in 2015.

In recent years, the relations between the two Churches have become more frequent. In 2001, Pope John Paul II visited Greece and Pope Benedict XVI visited Cyprus less than two years ago. Photos of the visit are available in our photo gallery.

Tags: Pope Francis IEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew IVisitEcumenical PatriarchateSchism
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