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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Receive Pope Benedict XVI in Istanbul November 29-30, 2006

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Nov 15, 2006

ISTANBUL, Turkey - His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of over 300 million Orthodox faithful worldwide, will receive Pope Benedict XVI on November 29 - 30, 2006 at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul.

Pope Benedict’s three-day visit to Istanbul comes at the personal invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch on the occasion of the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the older brother of Saint Peter. Saint Andrew traveled across Asia Minor and is considered the founder of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the former name for present-day Istanbul. Both prelates are noted throughout the world as peacemakers and for their extraordinary efforts to create bridges of truth and love across religious, ethnic, environmental and political divides.

“We are awaiting the Pope’s visit with fraternal love and great anticipation,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “it will be very important for our Country and Orthodox-Catholic Relations.”

Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Istanbul, on Wednesday afternoon, November 29, to be received by His All Holiness and will participate in a Doxology of Peace at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George. The prayer service will include a mutual veneration of the Holy Relics of Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom, the Predecessors of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and will be followed by a private meeting between the two Church leaders.

On Thursday morning, November 30, Benedict XVI will participate in the Divine Liturgy at St. George Cathedral where both prelates will deliver official addresses, exchange the Kiss of Peace and jointly bless the faithful present. After the Divine Liturgy, a common declaration of ecumenical solidarity will be read and signed. Following the signing, Pope Benedict will join the Ecumenical Patriarch for lunch at the Patriarchate.

After receiving the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit and celebrating the Papal Holy Mass, Pope Benedict will depart for Vatican City on Friday, December 1.

His All Holiness Bartholomew is the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch. He is the 269th successor of the 2,000-year old local Christian Church founded by St. Andrew. The Ecumenical Patriarch is a living witness to the world of Orthodoxy’s painful and redemptive struggle for religious freedom and to the innate dignity of humankind. As a citizen of Turkey, His All Holiness’s personal experience provides him a unique perspective on the continuing dialogue among the Christian, Islamic and Jewish worlds. For his inspiring efforts on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was heralded as a Bridge Builder and Peacemaker and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress in 1997.

Additional information about the visit of Pope Benedict to the Ecumenical Patriarchate may be found online at: www.patriarchate.org

Contact:
Rev. Dositheos Anagnostopoulos
Patriarchal Press Officer
Tel. +90 212 5210430
dositheos@superonline.net

Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos
Press Officer
Tel. (617) 680-7222 (cell)
frfrank@goarch.org

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