Benedict XVI in the Holy Land at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

On May 15, the Holy Father Benedict XVI traveled to the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem for an ecumenical meeting with the representatives of the Christian community in the Holy Land. After greeting His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III, the Holy Father recalled the "historic meetings" that have taken place in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, and also between Pope John Paul II and His Beatitude Patriarch Diodoros. "These encounters, including my visit today, are of great symbolic significance. They recall that the light of the East has illumined the entire world from the very moment when a 'rising sun' came to visit us and they remind us too that from here the Gospel was preached to all nations," the Pope said.

Contemplating the holy places, the Holy Father prayed that the encounter would "give new impetus to the work of theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, adding to the recent fruits of study documents and other joint initiatives." Benedict XVI then recalled the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew I, at the recent Synod of Bishops in Rome: "The warm welcome he received and his moving intervention were sincere expressions of the deep spiritual joy that arises from the extent to which communion is already present between our Churches. Such ecumenical experience bears clear witness to the link between the unity of the Church and her mission." The Pope then mentioned the need "to redouble our efforts to perfect our communion, to make it complete, to bear united witness to the love of the Father who sends the Son so that the world may know his love for us."
The question that was posed to Philip some two thousand years ago, ""Sir, we should like to see Jesus" (Jn 12:21), is a request made again of us today, here in Jerusalem, in the Holy Land, in the region and throughout the world. "It is imperative therefore that Christian leaders and their communities bear vibrant testimony to what our faith proclaims: the eternal Word, who entered space and time in this land, Jesus of Nazareth, who walked these streets, through his words and actions calls people of every age to his life of truth and love."
In concluding his address, the Holy Father encouraged all to "proclaim joyfully the Risen Lord," recognizing "the work to this end of the Heads of Christian communities, who meet together regularly in this city." He then concluded: "It seems to me that the greatest service the Christians of Jerusalem can offer their fellow citizens is the upbringing and education of a further generation of well-formed and committed Christians, earnest in their desire to contribute generously to the religious and civic life of this unique and holy city. The fundamental priority of every Christian leader is the nurturing of the faith of the individuals and families entrusted to his pastoral care...I pray that the aspirations of the Christians of Jerusalem will be understood as being concordant with the aspirations of all its inhabitants, whatever their religion: a life of religious freedom and peaceful coexistence and - for young people in particular - unimpeded access to education and employment, the prospect of suitable housing and family residency, and the chance to benefit from and contribute to economic stability." (SL)

Source: Agenzia Fides