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    » 03/07/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Bartholomew invited by the pope to participate in the synod of bishops

    NAT da Polis

    In the "spirit of Ravenna", the ecumenical patriarch will take part in the meeting of the world's Catholic bishops, scheduled to take place in October on the theme "The word of God in the life and mission of the Church".

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI has invited ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew to take part in the upcoming synod of bishops, scheduled for October, and to give an address to the assembly, together with the pope himself.

    The news of the invitation, not yet released by Vatican sources, comes at the conclusion of Bartholomew's visit to Rome for the 90th anniversary of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, during which he met with the pope.  The invitation to attend the synod came during lunch yesterday.  In itself, the presence of representatives of other Christian Churches and confessions is a normal practice for synod assemblies, ever since Vatican Council II invited the "fraternal delegations".  What makes this event significant is the personal invitation extended to Bartholomew, the solemnity reserved for this, and the atmosphere in which it took place.

    In regard to the meeting between Benedict XVI in Bartholomew, there has in fact been talk of the "spirit of Ravenna", meaning the meeting of the "Mixed international commission for theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church" held in Ravenna from October 8-14, 2007.  The final document of the meeting - although it was released by a commission, and is therefore not binding - was described as "an important step forward" by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council for Christian unity, although "the road to full unity is still a very long one".

    The document, Cardinal Kasper explains to Vatican Radio, "speaks of the tension between authority and conciliarity, or collegiality, at the local level, meaning that of the diocese, and at the regional and universal level.  The important step is that for the first time the Orthodox Churches have told us yes, there exists this universal level of the Church, and there is also conciliarity, collegiality, and authority at the universal level; this means that there is also a Primacy: according to the practice of the ancient Church, the first bishop is the bishop of Rome, there is no doubt of this.  But we did not speak of what the privileges of the bishop of Rome are, we only indicated the praxis for the sake of future discussions".

    But the ecumenical patriarch will not only be present at the 12th general ordinary assembly of the synod of bishops that will be held at the Vatican from October 5-26, 2008, on the theme of "The word of God in life and mission of the Church".  It seems, in fact, that Bartholomew could personally lead the delegation that the patriarchate sends to Rome every June 29th to take part in the celebration of the feast of Saint Peter and Paul.

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    See also

    23/05/2008 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    Cardinal Kasper in Russia for "deeper" understanding of Orthodoxy
    The head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has begun his visit to Russia, in an atmosphere of renewed fraternity between the two Churches. A meeting with Alexy II is expected by May 30. On the table are delicate questions like the resumption of the work of the commission for theological dialogue, and a meeting between the patriarch and the pope.

    02/12/2008 TURKEY
    Bartholomew: search for unity between Orthodox and Catholics "a duty"
    On the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew, founder of the Church of Constantinople, the patriarch and Cardinal Kasper reaffirm that the ecumenical journey is a road without alternatives.

    29/01/2009 VATICAN - RUSSIA
    Pope: continuing dialogue with Russian Orthodox essential
    Receiving the bishops of Russia, Benedict XVI renews his good wishes for Kirill. In spite of the difficulties, the encounters must move forward, because it is important for Christians to face together the serious cultural and ethical challenges of the present time, like the dignity of the person and defense of life and of the family.

    19/10/2008 VATICAN - ORTHODOXY
    Bartholomew: speaking at the synod, "a unique event of extraordinary importance"
    The satisfaction of the ecumenical patriarch, who yesterday reiterated the importance of the conclusions of the meeting in Ravenna between Catholics and Orthodox, at which it was affirmed that the interdependence of primacy and collegiality characterizes all levels of the Church's life, local, regional, and universal.

    03/12/2007 TURKEY
    Pope and Patriarch: onwards towards full unity
    The feast of St Andrew was the occasion for Bartholomew and Benedict XVI to reaffirm that there is no going back on the ecumenical journey. According to a member of the Mixed Commission, Moscow’s decision to leave Ravenna was not shared by all Russians and has its origins in the battle for succession.



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