ISTANBUL, Turkey – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians around the world, welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, at Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul.   

"Your Holiness and most beloved brother in Christ, we welcome you with great joy, honour and love. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord", stressed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as he greeted Pope Benedict XVI.

This warm greeting of the two Primates of the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, and the realization of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Istanbul, brings a message of love and peace for millions of Christians around the world.

It is significant that this is the first official visit of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church to Istanbul in the past 27 years.  The previous visit was in 1979 when Patriarch Demetrios welcomed Pope John Paul II. This visit also constitutes a historical continuity of previous meetings of Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, who proclaimed the lifting of the anathemas (excommunications), which accompanied the great Schism of the Church and divided Christianity in 1054.  

The Ecumenical Patriarch was accompanied at the airport by Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan John of Pergamon, the Co-President of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

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


Teachings of Christ

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 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

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Virtues and vices are the food of the soul and it can feed on either one, turning to whichever one it wants. If it is bent toward moral excellence, it will be fed by virtue - by righteousness, temperance, meekness, endurance. In other words, it is just as St. Paul says, 'being nourished by the word of truth' (1 Tim. 4:6).

St. Ignatius of Antioch