VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today, as is customary on or near the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Pope received a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, representing Patriarch Bartholomaios I. It is also a tradition for the Vatican to send a delegation to the patriarchate for the November 30 celebrations of their patron, St. Andrew.
In his address this morning in English, the Holy Father told the delegation that their presence "is a sign of the common love for Christ and an act of ecclesial fraternity, by which we reaffirm the legacy of love and unity which the Lord left to His Church, built on the Apostles. These yearly meetings nurture our fraternal relationship and they sustain our hope as we proceed step by step along the way to full communion and the overcoming of our historical divisions."
"The rapid changes taking place in today's world," he continued, "call for all Christians to show how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can shed light on the critical ethical issues facing the human family, including the urgent need to promote interreligious dialogue, to work for an end to the injustice which creates conflict and enmity between peoples, to safeguard God's creation and to meet the new challenges posed by advances in science and technology. Here in Europe, the Lord's followers especially need to cooperate in acknowledging and giving new life to the spiritual roots at the heart of this continent's history and culture."
John Paul II thanked Patriarch Bartholomaios "for the kind words and prayerful good wishes His Holiness recently offered at two conferences marking the approaching 25th anniversary of my pontificate."
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