Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I has reacted to Pope Benedict XVI's resignation with deep sadness. The patriarch received the news as he was making his way to his native island of Imvros.
"Pope Benedict," said the ecumenical patriarch, "leaves un indelible mark on the life and history of the Catholic Church, sealed not only by his brief reign, but also by his great contribution as a theologian and its foremost priest, noted for his universally recognised prestige.
"People will talk about his writings for many years to come. They are testimony to his profound knowledge of theology, of the Fathers of the Undivided Church, of his contact with the modern world, and of his lively interest in the problems of mankind.
"We Orthodox shall always honour him as a dear and loyal friend of our Church and as a faithful servant of the sacred cause of union of us all. With great brotherly joy, we shall remain informed about his good health and his productive theological work.
"Personally, we shall always remember with great emotion his visit to the See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate six years ago, not to mention the many other meetings we have had, bolstered by outstanding cooperation during his magisterium.
"From our See in the Fanar, we shall pray that our Lord grant him a worthy successor at the helm of our Sister Church of Rome so that we can continue together on our joint path towards Ut Unun Sint [That they all may be one]."