Pope and Orthodox Primate Did Pray Together, After All

An Our Father That Made History

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DAMASCUS, Syria, MAY 6, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Contrary to all predictions, the primate of Greek Orthodoxy and the Pope prayed together.

The two religious leaders prayed together on Friday evening, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls revealed Saturday during the flight from Athens to Damascus, Syria.

In the official program of the papal visit, no time was set aside for common prayer between Archbishop Christodoulos and John Paul II.

Some radical sectors of the Greek Orthodox Church do not believe it is possible to pray with leaders of the Catholic «heresy.»

But at the end of their third meeting, as His Beatitude Christodoulos was bidding the Pope farewell, the latter proposed: «Why don´t we pray the Our Father in Greek together?» The Greek archbishop was delighted to accept the idea.

The prayer took place following the Pope´s petition for forgiveness.

Navarro-Valls reported that the Greek Orthodox primate said, during the private visit with the Bishop of Rome, «We are proud of this visit. A new era is opening.»

According to Sunday´s edition of L´Osservatore Romano, the private meeting «was one of the most significant of the pilgrimage.»

The semiofficial Vatican paper called it «a great witness of communion carried out in simplicity,» in a «historical and unforgettable» day.

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