Benedict XVI Receives Patriarch of Constantinople

They Discuss Peace, Creation and Ecumenism

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2008 ( Benedict XVI received in audience today the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who is in Rome to mark the 90th anniversary of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

At the end of the third meeting between the two men, they prayed together in Latin in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

The Vatican Television Center reported that the themes of the meeting included “peace, the safeguarding of creation and ecumenism.” The agency added, “The love of God destroys the barriers among the peoples, and the Christian confessions are making a greater effort on the path of dialogue and collaboration.”

Benedict XVI first met Bartholomew I when the Pope traveled to Turkey in 2006, on the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew. They met again last October during the Holy Father’s trip to Naples for the 21st International Encounter of Peoples and Religions.

Bartholomew I will preside at an academic function marking the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Rome’s Pontifical Oriental Institute, where he himself received a doctorate.

The Pontifical Oriental Institute, entrusted to the Society of Jesus, was established by Pope Benedict XV in 1917.

On Dec. 6, the Pope received a delegation from the Pontifical Oriental Institute and recognized that the role the institute provides has “an effective ecumenical value, because drawing from the heritage of wisdom of the Christian East enriches everyone.”

On Tuesday, Bartholomew I received a doctorate “honoris causa” in international and diplomatic affairs granted by the University of Trieste in northern Italy.

Bartholomew I is being accompanied on his visit by Metropolitan Archbishop Gennadios of the Greek Orthodox in Italy and Malta, and exarch for Southern Europe; Metropolitan Athanasios of Helioupolis and Thiera; and Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamo, Orthodox president of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

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