Benedict XVI Hails Catholic-Orthodox Initiative

Sends Message to 10th Inter-Christian Symposium

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 17, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent words of encouragement to the 10th Inter-Christian Symposium between Catholics and Orthodox, expressing his hope that the initiative will further the path to unity.



The Pope offered his support in a message sent last Wednesday to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The symposium, with the theme "St. John Chrysostom: Bridge Between East and West," began Sunday on the Island of Tinos in Greece, and runs through Wednesday. It is held every two years, and alternately hosted by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

In his message, the Holy Father reflected on the figure of St. John Chrysostom; the 1,600th anniversary of the saint's death was Friday.

The Pontiff noted: "The theme of the symposium […] will offer the occasion to commemorate an illustrious Father of the Church venerated in the East as in the West -- a valiant, illuminated and faithful preacher of the Word of God, upon which he founded his pastoral action."

Benedict XVI encouraged the work undertaken by the symposium participants.

He said: "The reflection of your symposium, which will deal with a theme related to John Chrysostom and communion with the Church of the West while analyzing some problems that exist today, will contribute to upholding and corroborating the real -- though imperfect -- communion that exists between Catholics and Orthodox, so that we may reach that fullness which will one day enable us to concelebrate the one Eucharist.

"And it is to that blessed day that we all look with hope, organizing practical initiatives such as this one."

The Holy Father invoked the aid of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Mary, under her title of "Theotokos," asking her mother intercession "so that our shared intentions will be crowned by the much wished-for spiritual successes."