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Ecumenical outlook with Orthodox world is encouraging, Pope says

Catholic World News - June 28, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI said that he was encouraged with ecumenical progress, and hoped that the Orthodox churches would play a role in the October 2010 Synod of Bishops, as he met on June 28 with a delegation of prelates from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Orthodox delegation was in Rome to join the Pope in celebrations for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The exchange of representatives has become a regular feature of ecumenical ties; each year the Vatican sends a similar delegation to Istanbul for the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Constantinople patriarchate.

The Pope told the ecumenical delegates that relations between Rome and Constantinople today are “characterized by sentiments of mutual trust, esteem, and fraternity.” That amicable relationship provides hope for further progress, he said. Moreover, the Pontiff continued, the work of a joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission offers more hope for closer ties.

Pope Benedict said that he was pleased to know the Ecumenical Patriarchate will send a delegation to participate in the October Synod, which is devoted to a discussion of the challenges facing the Church in the Middle East. "I am certain that the theme of ecumenical cooperation between the Christians of that region will receive great attention” during the Synod discussions, he said. The Pope added: “The difficulties that the Christians of the Middle East are experiencing are in large measure common to all: living as a minority, and yearning for authentic religious freedom and for peace.”

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