VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the promotion of Christian values is a particularly necessary area of collaboration between Orthodox and Catholics.
The Pope made that observation Monday when he received in audience a group of priests and seminarians of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Holy Father’s guests were students of the Apostoliki Diakonia, the Theological College of the Greek Orthodox Church, who were accompanied by their director general, Bishop Agathangelos of Fanarion.
Relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Holy See have progressed since Pope John Paul II’s visit to Greece in May 2001, during which he was received by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece.
The commitment to present the Christian roots of Europe to ideological groups which have attempted to deny them in recent years is one of the motives for dialogue between the Churches of Athens and Rome.
In his address to the Orthodox students, Benedict XVI emphasized that “reciprocal charity will nourish our ingenuity and enable us to undertake new ways.”
“We must address the challenges that threaten the faith, cultivate the spiritual ‘humus’ that has nourished Europe for centuries, reaffirm Christian values, promote peace and meetings, even in the most difficult conditions,” the Pope exhorted.
In particular, the Holy Father suggested deeper reflection on “those elements of the faith and ecclesial life that can lead to the goal of full communion in truth and charity.”
In this connection, he considered as a great opportunity the official theological dialogue, which has just been renewed between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The Bishop of Rome pointed out that the steps taken over the past four decades in the dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox allow one to “perceive a new dawn, that of the day in which we will understand fully that to be rooted and founded on the charity of Christ means to find concretely a way to overcome our divisions.”
This endeavor, he added, calls for “a personal and community conversion, listening to others and prayer in common for our unity.”