Peter's Faith Still Upholding Unity, Says Pope

Receives Orthodox Delegation on Feast of Apostles

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- St. Peter's profession of faith continues to be a guarantee of Christian unity, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope said this Friday, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, in a homily during a Eucharistic concelebration with 46 metropolitan archbishops upon whom he imposed the pallium.

A delegation sent by Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, also attended the Mass.

In his homily, the Holy Father commented on the dialogue between Jesus and the apostles when Christ asked them, "And you, who do you say that I am?"

"In Peter's profession of faith, dear brothers and sisters, we can feel and be one, despite the divisions that throughout the centuries have wounded the unity of the Church with consequences that still exist today," the Pontiff said.

Benedict XVI reaffirmed his "commitment to fulfill the will of Christ, who wants us to be united."

Committed

After the Mass, the Pope gave an address to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.

In words directed to the orthodox delegation: "Our meetings, the reciprocal visits and the dialogues taking place at the moment are not simple gestures of courtesy, or attempts at reaching a compromise, but the sign of a common will to do whatever possible so that we can reach that full communion which Christ prayed for in his prayer to the Father at the Last Supper: 'Ut unum sint.'

"Among these initiatives there is also the 'Pauline Year' that I proclaimed last evening, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, at the tomb of the Apostle Paul."

The orthodox delegation included Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis of France, director of the Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; Metropolitan Gennadios Limouris of Sassima, co-president of the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church; and by Deacon Andreas Sophianopoulos, third deacon of the Patriarchal See of Phanar.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father received the delegation in audience in the Apostolic Palace, followed by lunch.