Greek Press Applauds Pope´s Bid for Forgiveness

ATHENS, Greece, MAY 6, 2001 ( The Greek press applauded John Paul II´s request for forgiveness for the historical offenses of Catholics and Orthodox, and his proposal of a path to reconciliation between the two Christian confessions.

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According to the great majority of the Greek media, the Holy Father´s attitude opens the doors to friendship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which have been divided since the schism of 1054.

In particular, the Pope referred to one of the deepest wounds between Catholics and Orthodox: the Fourth Crusade of 1204, in which Christians faithful to the papacy sacked Constantinople, the city symbolizing Orthodoxy. They were trying to dominate the city politically and impose the Latin rite and jurisdiction on the Byzantine Church.

The Holy Father on Friday described the episode as «tragic,» and the fruit of the «mystery of iniquity» of man.

«This historical apology opens the way for the unity of the two Churches,» the liberal newspaper Eleftherotypia said in a front-page editorial on Saturday.

«The Papal Apology Changes History,» the Ethnos newspaper added.

The English-language «Athens News» wrote in its electronic edition, «Pope Scales Walls of Greek Orthodoxy.»

A headline in the newspaper Kathimerini read: «Pope Seeks Forgiveness for ´Sins.´» The subtitle said: «John Paul´s Statement of Regret May Open Way for New Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.»

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