Benedict XVI Looks Toward Unity With Orthodox

Continues a Tradition From the Window of Papal Apartment

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2005 ( Benedict XVI extended Easter greetings to Orthodox Christians, who were celebrating the day, and indicated again he will pursue the goal of Catholic-Orthodox unity.

In his first Regina Caeli address from the window of his papal apartment, the Holy Father today said God is «asking us to travel decisively down the path toward full unity.»

Tens of thousands of people were gathered below in St. Peter’s Square to hear the Pontiff’s address, which continued a Sunday tradition of Pope John Paul II’s.

«I address you, my very dear brothers and sisters, for the first time from this window that the beloved figure of my predecessor made familiar to countless people in the entire world,» Benedict XVI said.

«From Sunday to Sunday, John Paul II, faithful to an appointment which became a cherished habit, accompanied for more than a quarter-century the history of the Church and of the world, and we continue to feel him closer to us than ever,» he said.

The Holy Father, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, thanked «all those who supported me in these days with prayer.»

Benedict XVI moved into the third-floor papal apartment on Saturday. He had been living in the Vatican guesthouse Domus Sanctae Marthae since his election on April 19 while the apartment was readied for the new Pope.

May 1 is the Labor Day holiday in Europe; liturgically it is usually the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Benedict XVI mentioned that his baptismal name was Joseph.

He said he hoped that people, especially the young, would always be able to find work and that «working conditions are ever more respectful» of human dignity.

The Holy Father also referred to problems on the international scene, including «wars, poverty and diseases.»

He mentioned the African nation of Togo, torn by strife after disputed elections. He said he was praying for harmony and peace for Togo’s people.

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