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BOSTON — Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis
of Boston and Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley issued a joint statement of
fraternal understanding and prayer for the three-day visit of Pope Benedict
XVI with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, Turkey on
Nov. 28 through Dec. 1. As global tensions ran high, the local Greek Orthodox
and Catholic leaders said they would pray for the safety and fruitful
ecumenical dialogue of their respective Church leaders.
Pope Benedict was to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
at the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual
leader of more than 270 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, for
the occasion of the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, the older brother
of St. Peter. St. Andrew traveled across Asia Minor and is the founder of
the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the former name for present-
day Istanbul. Both prelates are noted throughout the world for their
extraordinary efforts to create bridges of truth and love across religious,
ethnic, environmental, and political divides.
In their statement, Metropolitan Methodios and Cardinal O’Malley
said they were hopeful that the meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew and Pope Benedict, the two “bridge builders” and “peacemakers”
of Apostolic Christendom, would infl uence ties between their
respective churches and have a profound impact on religious freedom
and on the recognition of minority rights.