At Moldova Event, Catholics and Orthodox Find Common Ground

Bishops Hold Ecumenical Meeting

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PADUA, Italy, SEPT. 27, 2002 (ZENIT.org-Avvenire).- A recent meeting in Eastern Europe of Orthodox and Catholic bishops was expected to help set the stage for Romanian Patriarch Teoctist's upcoming visit to the Pope.



Twenty-two Catholic and Orthodox bishops participated in the ecumenical meeting, held in Moldova, a former Soviet republic, to share experiences of their pastoral ministry. Lorenzo Tanase, Moldovan Minister of Culture and Worship, attended the opening of the Sept. 17-19 meeting.

The gathering took place at the St. Daniel the Hermit pastoral cultural center in Durau. Thirteen Orthodox bishops attended, 11 from neighboring Romania and two from Greece. The Catholic bishops -- five of the Latin rite, four of the Byzantine rite -- were from Romania, Moldova and Italy.

Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua, Italy, and Metropolitan Daniel Ciobotea of Iasi, Romania, promoted the meeting.

"More than theological ideas, some bishops, both Orthodox as well as Catholics, simply expressed their feelings and sufferings, their desires and aspirations," said Archbishop Mattiazzo. "This led to the hope that this experience will be continued."

The initiative had been presented earlier to the Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Daniel, whose diocese borders Moldova.

The Padua archbishop said: "The Romanian Orthodox Church is called to play an important role as bridge between the West and the Slavic East." Metropolitan Daniel said the initiative was crucial to prepare Patriarch Teoctist's official visit to John Paul II on Oct. 13.

The next ecumenical meeting will be held in Padua next September.