Patriarch Receives Papal Birthday Wishes

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2010 ( On the occasion of the 70th birthday of the Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Benedict XVI sent him a telegram to wish him well for this “happy event.”

The Patriarch’s birthday, the telegram says, offers the Pope “a welcome opportunity to thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the giver of every good, for the abundant blessings that he has bestowed on Your Holiness.”

At the same time it gives the Pontiff the possibility to offer Bartholomew I his “fervid and fraternal wishes, accompanied by my prayers that our one Lord sustain him with his strength and his grace while you fulfill your high office as pastor, preacher of the Gospel and master of the spiritual life.”

The Holy Father’s note recalls the “pleasant memories” of meetings with the Patriarch, referring above all to his visit to Fanar for the feast of St. Andrew in 2006.

The telegram concluded, “I exchange with Your Holiness a holy embrace, expressing my hope in faith that the Spirit of God continue to enlighten and guide our path toward the full communion desired by Christ for all of his disciples.”

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