01/06/2004, 00.00
Send to a friend

Pope pays homage to Paul VI, sends greetings to Orthodox

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Today, on the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord, John Paul II appeared from his apartment window to recite the Angelus together with faithful and pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter's Square. The pope remembered the trip Paul VI made 40 years ago to the Holy Land, launching a period of great missionary development.

Quoting his predecessor, the pontiff recalled that "Christianity's mission among humanity is a mission of friendship, understanding, encouragement, promotion and elevation: that is to say, a mission of salvation."

At the conclusion of the Angelus, the pope sent his holiday greetings to the Orthodox community who, in following the Julian calendar, celebrate Christmas tomorrow.

Below are the pope's words spoken before the Angelus (translation by AsiaNews):


On today's feast of the Epiphany of our Lord, Mathew's gospel speaks of a mysterious "star" which guided the Magi to Jerusalem and then onward to Bethlehem, where they adored the baby Jesus (cf. 2,   

The star leading the Magi to Christ reminds us of the rich symbology of light, which is most present in Christmas. God is the light, and the Word made man is "the light of the world (John, 8,12), the light which guides people along their way: Lumen gentium."

This great truth inspired my venerated predecessor, Paul VI, when exactly forty years ago he made his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It was on Jan. 6 1964 in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity when he pronounced his unforgettable words. He said among other things: "We look out upon the world with immense sympathy. If the world feels alien to Christianity, Christianity does not feel alien to the world" (Teachings, vol. II, 1964, p. 32). And he added that Christianity's mission among humanity is a mission of friendship, understanding, encouragement, promotion and elevation: that is to say, a mission of salvation. (cf. ibid., pp. 32-33).

And from the place that witnessed the birth of the Prince of Peace, he urged the leaders of nations to have an ever closer cooperation for "establishing peace in truth, justice, freedom and brotherly love" (ibid., pp. 34-35).

I sincerely make the words of God's servant, Paul VI, my own while invoking Most Holy Mary's intercession, the star for humanity on its pilgrimage through time. With the Virgin's motherly help, may all men reach Christ, the Light of Truth, and the world make progress on its path to justice and peace."

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
Holy Land Coordination to focus annual visit on peace and Gaza Christians
09/01/2020 16:56
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
International Day of Prayer for Peace in Holy Land
A pilgrim to the Holy Land for Christ's Jubilee in 2000


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”