.- The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, said last week he is “convinced” that Benedict XVI’s visit to Turkey, in addition to being “historic,” also had “incalculable value” for the “reconciliation process” in the millennium-long split between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
Alluding to the controversial statements by Benedict XVI at Ratisbona last September, Bartholomew I told reporters that the Pontiff’s trip “has come at such a difficult time and in very delicate circumstances.”
“Unity is a precious responsibility, but at the same time a difficult responsibility that must be assumed if it is not shared between brethren. The history of the last millennium is a painful reminder of this reality. There is no doubt that with God’s help, (the Pope’s visit) offers us the opportunity to take a beneficial step forward in the reconciliation process between our Churches,” he said.
Likewise, the Patriarch said that Pope Benedict’s four-day visit to Turkey constitutes “an opportunity to overcome some of the barriers of misunderstanding between believers of different religions, in particular between Christians and Muslims.”
Bartholomew I also revealed that he has made a surprise proposal of an ecumenical nature to the Pope, which he said was received positively by the Pontiff.