Orthodox Patriarch Visits Havana's Cardinal

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HAVANA, JAN. 26, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople took a further step with the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew I to Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino of Havana.



"The meeting, held in a parlor of the Havana Riviera Hotel was cordial and warm, and at the same time an expression of the ecumenical spirit that animates both Christian Churches," the director of the press office of the Catholic bishops' conference, Orlando Marquez, said in a statement Friday.

The patriarch was visiting the Caribbean island at the invitation of President Fidel Castro, to consecrate the church of St. Nicholas in Old Havana.

"Cardinal Ortega expressed to Patriarch Bartholomew I his pleasure over the opportunity for the meeting," Marquez said. The cardinal said he saw in the Orthodox Church "a sign of the presence of Jesus Christ in Cuba."

"Patriarch Bartholomew also manifested his satisfaction with the meeting. He had words of praise and affection for Pope John Paul II as the highest authority of the Catholic Church, and invited Cardinal Ortega to visit his see in Istanbul," Marquez continued.

The patriarch said he will be in Rome on June 29 in response to an invitation from John Paul II to attend the celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the episcopal spokesman said.