Pope: Orthodox Patriarch's Visit to Poland an 'Important Event'

Notes Kirill's Meetings With Catholic Bishops

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 20, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI joined his voice Sunday to that of other Church leaders who welcomed the visit of the Russian Orthodox patriarch to Poland.

Patriarch Kirill and the president of the Polish episcopal conference on Friday signed a joint declaration.

The Holy Father concluded his remarks after Sunday's Angelus with a mention of the visit and the statement.

"I cordially greet His Holiness and all of the Orthodox faithful," he said. "The program for this visit also included meetings with Catholic bishops and the common declaration of the desire to deepen their fraternal union and to collaborate in spreading Gospel values in the modern world, in the spirit of the same faith in Christ Jesus. This is an important event that inspires hope for the future. I entrust its fruits to the kindness of Mary, imploring God's blessing. Praised be Jesus Christ."

There continues to be hope for an eventual meeting between Kirill and Benedict XVI. Two years ago this week, at the 31st Rimini meeting (the 33rd is under way), Orthodox Metropolitan Filaret embraced Cardinal Péter Erdő in a gesture reflecting a will for unity between the two Churches.

A photo of the embrace between the cardinal and the metropolitan was printed with the title "Europe's Brothers."

At that time, Metropolitan Filaret already said that "the time is ripe for a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch."