VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI spoke of the desire for closer ties with the Greek Orthodox Church when he gave an audience to the Catholic bishops of Greece.
The bishops were on their five-yearly visit to Rome. Catholics constitute only 0.55% of Greece’s population of 10.6 million.
“The desire is great in all to take part together in the one altar on which is offered under the veil of the Sacrament the one Sacrifice of Christ,” the Pope said today when addressing relations with the Orthodox.
“We want to intensify prayer so that the day will come as soon as possible in which we will be able to break together the Bread and drink from the same Chalice in which the price of our salvation is deposited,” he added.
In this context, Benedict XVI hoped “that ever greater perspectives will be opened for a constructive dialogue between the Orthodox Church of Greece and the Catholic Church, and that common initiatives will multiply in a spiritual, cultural and practical order.”
The Pope sent greetings to Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, “praying to the Lord to support him with the wide-ranging vision and prudence necessary to fulfill the arduous service that the Lord entrusted to him.”
Relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Holy See have progressed since Pope John Paul II visited Greece in May 2001 and was received by Archbishop Christodoulos, according to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
After greeting the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Pope requested the Catholic bishops to offer their “effective collaboration to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and to the members of the Episcopal College of the Orthodox Church to foster further progress on the path of the longed for full unity.”