(AsiaNews) - 50 years on from Vatican II, Benedict XVI today recalled that the
Council gave the right start to "an important stage" in
relations between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with the
the deep fraternity" that binds them and with the "progress" of the Mixed
Commission for theological dialogue.
The feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, patrons of the Church of Rome, as well as that of Andrew, patron saint of the Church of Constantinople, has become the traditional occasion for an exchange of visits of delegations of the two "sister churches" to reaffirm the common desire to pursue the road to " bring closer the blessed day when we can share the Eucharistic table."
The 50 years since Vatican II were the focus of the greeting Benedict XVI gave to the Orthodox delegation, composed of Adamidis Emmanuel, Metropolitan of France, Director of the Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; Ilias Katre, Bishop of Philomelion (USA) and deacon Paisios Kokkinakis, Codicographer of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
"This year - the Pope said - marks the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which will be solemnly celebrated on October 11th. It is in conjunction with the Council, at which, as you well know, there were some representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as fraternal delegates, that an important new phase of relations between our two Churches began. "
"Recalling the anniversary of Vatican II, it seems right to remember the figure and the work of the unforgettable Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, of whose death we will in a few days mark the fortieth anniversary of his death. Patriarch Athenagoras, with Blessed Pope John XXIII and the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, animated by passion for the unity of the Church which comes from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, became proponents of bold initiatives which paved the way for a renewed relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Catholic Church". A journey, the Pope concluded, which the current Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, is continuing with "renewed faithfulness and abundant creativity".