Romanian's Visit May Boost Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue

Patriarch Teoctist’s Will See Pope During Weeklong Stay in Rome

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2002 ( Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist’s upcoming visit to the Pope is expected to give a boost to Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.

The patriarch is reciprocating for the trip John Paul II made to Romania in May 1999, the first papal visit to Orthodox land.

According to a Vatican statement today, three metropolitans, an archbishop and various representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church will accompany the patriarch. The three metropolitans are Daniel, archbishop of Iasi and metropolitan of Moldavia and Bucovina; Teophan, archbishop of Craiova and metropolitan of Oltenia; and Iosif, metropolitan of the See of Western and Southern Europe of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Teoctist and his entourage will participate in the audience with the Pope for the pilgrims who have come for the canonization of Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá.

On Oct. 11, the patriarch will be received by the vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where he will attend a short liturgy during which a relic of St. Sylvester will be returned to him to be restored to an Orthodox church in Bucharest.

On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 12, a meeting between the Pope and the patriarch is scheduled. There will be an exchange of speeches and gifts and a common declaration will be signed.

In the afternoon, at the church of St. Bartholomew on Tiberina Island, an ecumenical celebration will take place which will be presided by the patriarch, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Ruini and Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, titular of the same church.

The concluding solemn event of the visit will take place Sunday, Oct. 13, with a eucharistic liturgy, presided over by John Paul II in the presence of Patriarch Teoctist and his entourage in St. Peter’s Basilica.

During his stay in Rome, Patriarch Teoctist will meet with Cardinal Kasper and other officials of the latter’s council. The patriarch also will visit the basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. Paul Outside the Walls.

He will also meet with the Romanian Orthodox community of Rome in the Cistercian Abbey of the Three Fountains and in the Church of the Scala Coeli. The patriarch, invited by the Community of Sant’Egidio, will meet one afternoon with young people and will participate in a prayer ceremony in the Basilica of St. Mary in Trastevere and in a dinner in his honor.

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