2012-06-28 Vatican RadioPope Benedict XVI on Thursday greeted a delegation sent by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, to mark Friday’s Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch was led by Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, who heads the Greek Orthodox Church in France.
During his remarks, Pope Benedict praised the accomplishments of the apostles Peter and Paul, and said in their preaching, sealed by the witness of martyrdom, we can find the roots of the bonds which exist between the two Churches. He asked that through their intercession, God may “bring closer the blessed day when we can share the Eucharistic table.”
He also mentioned the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which the Holy Father said began “an important new phase” in their relationship.
“Recalling the anniversary of Vatican II, it seems right to remember the figure and the work of the unforgettable Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, of whose death we will in a few days mark the fortieth anniversary,” Pope Benedict said. “Patriarch Athenagoras, with Blessed Pope John XXIII and the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, animated by passion for the unity of the Church which comes from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, became proponents of bold initiatives which paved the way for a renewed relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Catholic Church.”
The Pope concluded by speaking of his “great joy” in the manner which the current Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, has continued this work, “with renewed faithfulness and abundant creativity…noted around the world for his openness to dialogue between Christians, and his commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel in the modern world.”