By Junno Arocho
VATICAN CITY, June 28, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Pope Benedict XVI received a delegation this morning sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople traditionally exchange visits for the feasts of their respective patrons.
The delegation delivered a message to the Holy Father on behalf of the Patriarch. The delegation included His Eminence Emmanuel (Adenakis), metropolitan of France and director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; His Grace Ilias Katre, bishop of Philomelion, U.S.A., and Rev. Paisios Kokkinakis of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Holy Father told the group that the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul “gives us an opportunity to thank the Lord for the extraordinary works He has achieved and continues to achieve through the Apostles in the life of the Church. Their preaching, sealed by the witness of martyrdom, is the solid and durable base upon which the Church rests. By remaining faithful to the deposit of faith they have handed down to us, we discover our own shared roots”.
Recalling the Second Vatican Council, whose anniversary will coincide with the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the importance of the presence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople at the Council. “We wish to praise the Lord first of all for the rediscovery of the profound fraternity that binds us, and also for the path followed in these years by the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole, with the hope that in the present phase progress will also be made,” he said.
The Holy Father concluded his address, thanking the Delegation and Patriarch Bartholomew I for their continuing openness to dialogue. “It is a motive of particular joy for me to see how His Holiness Bartholomew I follows, with renewed fidelity and fecund creativity, the path traced by his Predecessors the Patriarchs Athenagoras and Dimitrios, distinguishing himself at the international level for his openness to the dialogue between Christians and for his commitment to the service of proclaiming the Gospel in the contemporary world,” he said.