ISTANBUL, Turkey -- In a momentous gesture of filial love and respect for their respective churches, Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the first Bishop of the entire Orthodox Church worldwide, signed a significant Common Declaration.

The two Prelates recalled with gratitude their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, as well as Ecumenical Patriarchs Athenagoras and Dimitrios, who lead the path towards the reconciliation (abatement) of the two churches, through their meetings and mutual visits, as well as the lifting of the 11th century anathemas between Rome and Constantinople. They call on (implore) the faithful of both Churches to strengthen their prayers and endeavors towards the unity of the Churches.

The signing of the declaration by the two “peacemakers” and "bridge builders" of Apostolic Christendom in the Throne Room of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the focal point of Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to the primary ecclesiastical center of the Orthodox Christian Church.

The declaration was signed on the occasion of the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, who traveled across Asia Minor and is the founder of the Christian Church in present-day Istanbul, which later became the first ecclesiastical Throne in the Christian East.

Both hierarchs are noted throughout the world for their efforts to create bridges of truth and love across religious, ethnic, environmental, and political divides. The document is considered a powerful symbol of ecclesiastical solidarity.

The signing of the mutual statement continues a tradition which began in 1964 when Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras met in Jerusalem and later in Istanbul and Rome for the purpose of deepening the renewed relationship between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.

The three-day meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI follows a recent meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the two churches last September.

Following the celebration of the Liturgy, the Pope and his entourage sat at the formal luncheon in the headquarters (the Patriarchal House) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

(Note: For more information, please log on to www.patriarchate.org)

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom. 

St. Macarius the Great