Eastern Patriarch to Visit Southern Italy

ROSSANO, Italy, MAR. 14, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Bartholomew I, patriarch of Constantinople, will visit the Italian region of Calabria from March 19-23, before attending the 4th Regional Assembly of Sicilian Catholic Churches, to be held in Acireale. Among other things, the patriarch will take part in an ecumenical prayer.

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The reason for the patriarch´s trip to Calabria, is the profound past influence of the Christian East on this land. This coast, which looks out on the Ionian Sea, was part of Greater Greece and, later, was the place of meeting between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, between the Oriental and Latin rites.

The patriarch will visit St. Severina and the dioceses of Locri-Gerace and Reggio Calabria-Bova. These are local Churches in which the mark of the Greek-Byzantine tradition remains, not only because their bishops were named in Constantinople before its fall in 1453, but because of the traces left here by many holy monks and hermits who came from the other side of the sea, at times fleeing from Muslim persecution.

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