Orthodox Patriarch to Join in at Mass on Solemnity

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- On the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope will continue a tradition with the Orthodox which this year will include a visit by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I himself.

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John Paul II will preside at a 6 p.m. Mass next Tuesday in St. Peter’s Square. Beforehand he will welcome Bartholomew I of Constantinople in the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica. Together they will deliver the homily and recite the profession of faith, according to a note issued by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

For years, on the solemnity of the patrons of Rome, a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has attended the Mass. A Vatican delegation makes a reciprocal exchange on the feast of St. Andrew in Constantinople — modern-day Istanbul, Turkey.

Next week’s celebration will take place 40 years after the historic embrace between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I in Jerusalem in January 1964.

“The event constitutes a new moment of grace in the journey following Vatican Council II ‘for the rapprochement between the Church of the East and the Church of the West, and the re-establishment of the unity that existed between them in the first millennium,'” the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations noted.

Next Tuesday, new Catholic metropolitan archbishops will also receive the pallium, a band of lamb’s wool symbolizing their authority and their communion with Rome, from the Pope.

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