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

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Go and have pity on all, for through pity, one finds freedom of speech before God. 

Abba Pambo