Pontiff Notes 40th Anniversary of European Bishops' Group

And Voices Hope for East-West Communion

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 23, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today recognized the 40th anniversary of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), a panel which unites the 33 bishops’ conferences of the continent and other representatives.

At the end of today’s general audience the Pope welcomed pilgrims in 10 different languages. Included in his greetings were comments to “a delegation from the Catholic-Orthodox Forum, which includes many prelates to whom I address my cordial greetings.”

“To the Catholic members in particular, I express my sincere best wishes for the 40th anniversary of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE),” he added.

CCEE’s members are the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences, represented by right by their presidents, and the archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Republic) and the eparchial bishop of Mukachevo. 

The Pope also spoke in Croatian to priests and faithful from the Greek-Catholic Diocese of Krizevci. 

“Dear friends,” he said, “you have begun celebrating a jubilee in your eparchy to mark the 400th anniversary of union with the Church of Rome and of the establishment of the Eparchy of Marca. Today you are thanking God for all the gifts you have received with this pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. May your centuries-long union with the Bishop of Rome help you to become builders of communion between the Christian East and West.”

Finally Benedict XVI addressed Hungarian pilgrims and especially a group of Gypsies from the province of Tolna. He said, “May the splendor of the faith guide you along the roads of life.”

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