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Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Prelates Issue Joint Statement for Upcoming Meeting Between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI in Istanbul

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Nov 20, 2006

New York, NY – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and His Eminence Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and central Roman Catholic hierarch in the dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics, have issued the present joint statement of fraternal understanding and prayer for the upcoming three-day visit of Pope Benedict XVI with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, Turkey on November 29 – December 1, 2006. As global tensions run high, the local Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic hierarchs pray for peace and for meaningful and fruitful dialogue during the historic visit.

Pope Benedict will visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide, for the occasion of the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the older brother of Saint Peter. Saint Andrew traveled across Asia Minor and is the founder of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the former name for present-day Istanbul. Both prelates are noted throughout the world for their extraordinary efforts to create bridges of truth and love across religious, ethnic, environmental, and political divides.

Archbishop Demetrios and Cardinal Keeler are hopeful that the meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict the two "Bridge Builders" and "Peacemakers" of Apostolic Christendom, will influence ties between their respective churches and have a profound impact on religious freedom and on the recognition of minority rights.

Cardinal Keeler stated: "I am grateful to Pope Benedict XVI and to the Ecumenical Patriarch for their leadership on this most important issue and urge Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and across the United States and beyond to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit during this historic meeting."

Archbishop Demetrios stated: "We are thankful to God for the upcoming meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI which by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we hope that will produce considerable spiritual results for our people and the various religious Christian and non-Christian communities worldwide."

Contact:
Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos
Cell: 617-680-7222

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